Literally. Dad is the second youngest of eight siblings, with several having started families young.
When I was younger, I had difficulty understanding how my dad was my cousins’ uncle; they did things together like playing volleyball or basketball, they looked about the same age [Dad looks young], they seemed more like friends. It wasn’t the same kind of thing I had with my uncles.
Still, Dad has kept the respect due to his station as the uncle. The few times I’ve met the cousins older than Dad, they’ve called him “Uncle ___.” It’s interesting.
My cousins love having Dad around beyond the obligatory graduations and weddings, etc., and Dad is always there for them. Cousin M invited Dad to watch his daughter’s basketball game and Dad and I went. A few years ago, Dad and Mom started taking trips to LV and they would coordinate the trip with my Aunty; if Cousin C hears that Dad’s going, he’ll go too. When I got my driver’s license, Cousin B helped Dad find a good used car for my use. B also helped my parents get the right car at the best deal when the old car broke down. C & B used to babysit me; M is closer to my age but I'm sure he would also do favors for my dad if asked.
I call these guys my BCU: Bodyguard Cousins Unit. They are big guys. They seem to have a sense of protecting me that they don't seem to have for our other female cousins. I think it has to do with their respect for my Dad and probably an admiration for how Dad [and Mom] has raised me. My parents didn't allow me to be too wild and rebellious; they raised me to be respectful and smart. They raised me with respect, discipline and affection. It's not a knock on my relatives and their parental skills; it's just that my parents had a rather different style that's quite attractive.
There is also Cousin T, also a BC; he seems to have an extra affection for Dad. It could just be T’s personality difference from the other cousins, but I think it’s more than that. T will do special little touches like call Dad to directly invite him to his daughter’s graduation. When M’s brother came home for a visit from OR, T’s the one that called Dad up to come over for the BBQ.
And just the other morning, I woke up to the sounds of Dad and Mom talking story to T in the house. I guess he was in the area and decided to stop by. It wasn’t the first time T’s stopped by. I can't remember the last time the others came over, and T also has a family of his own to care for and other obligations.
It was such a good sound of voices that morning that I thought I’d share this story.
Mahalo for reading.
[Photo: members of the BCU. T on the right.]
*I forgot to mention something: when Dad was in the hospital, T made sure to come by to see him. Now that I think of it, I think T's the one that invited Dad to M's daughter's basketball game.