Monday, June 29, 2009


I always tell people that I don't really recognize that everyone's getting older until I take a look at people who are younger than me. I definitely don't see it in my own life, but that's probably because I'm experiencing it, so it's hard to remember myself at different stages. It doesn't really hit me with people older than me, either.

But when I see my neighbors - my former babysitting clients - and am informed that the youngest is no longer in kindergarten but going to middle school next year, it's a bit of a shock. The same happened when my other neighbor got her license, or when I realize that my cousin is going to college next year. It catches me a little off guard.

On Saturday we had a graduation party for my cousin, Lynds. She's become such a different person lately, and although I can't really say I'm happy with all of it, she is such a determined individual. Her major? Education of the deaf and blind, with a concentration in sociology. Damn. She's always been awesome with kids and has always wanted to be a teacher, so that part doesn't come as a surprise. But to me, it takes a lot of courage and a special kind of person to branch out into teaching students with special needs.

That being said, I've been frustrated recently with the person she's become around her friends. Since we've always been really close, it's sometimes hard for me to realize she is only eighteen, and that she's going to go through different phases, especially in high school. It hurts because nine times out of ten, she chooses friends over family. She used to be all about family, but now she seems to find us boring. At family functions, she's always texting her friends, hoping to get away from the party early to go hang out with friends.

It wouldn't bother me as much if it weren't for all the pictures that pop up on Facebook that show me that she hasn't picked up the best of habits. It's not the drinking that gets to me, because I get that. Even though I didn't drink in high school, I'm not a Judgy McJudgerson about it. She has, however, picked up smoking. And well, I can't say I'm super happy about it. I've asked my friends, my brother, and my mom about it, and they all give me differing opinions.

My feeling on the matter is that it's a temporary thing. Whether that's me in denial or being extra hopeful, I keep telling myself that it's not something she is looking to continue. So, I've chosen not to say anything. I don't want to confront her about it only to be snapped at because I jumped to conclusions or am telling her what to do.

I feel so stuck, because outwardly, we still act like we're super close. However, I am completely aware (and she has to be, too) that we're not close at all anymore. She's turned into someone I can't relate to, and since she's too busy to hang out, we don't have any opportunity to really talk and connect anymore. I know nothing about her life because she knows I didn't do any of this stuff at her age, so she never really shares anything with me. She thinks I'm just the boring older cousin who wouldn't understand. It hurts more than I'd like to admit, but I feel like even if I explained it to her, nothing would change. She would understand what I'm saying and feel bad, and possibly try to arrange a few more hang-outs every month out of guilt, but it wouldn't really change her back to who she used to be.

So here I am, proud of who she is on the inside, unhappy about who she acts like on the outside, and crossing my fingers that she'll gain a little wisdom and maturity when she gets to college. Until then, I'll take from our friendship what I can get, even if it's only little bits and pieces right now.

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