I grew up spending my summer vacation staying with my Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Paul and my cousins, in Huntington Beach. I started flying down to visit, by myself, when I was just 7 years old, and continued to visit each Summer all the way through high school. Their home was filled with their 4 children, lots of personality, but most of all, love. When you walk into their home, it has a special smell, no matter how people grew older, or what changed from year to year, the smell was still exactly the same. Even 23 years later when I walk into their home, I take a deep breath and I am immersed into all the memories of my Summers spent there. My cousin Amy is definitely the main character of all my memories. Amy is just one year older than I am, almost to the day. We spent our summers giggling uncontrollably, making pacts we thought we’d never keep, and swore to live closer to each other when we were grown-up. She proudly told all other cousins that I was her “favorite cousin” and I did the same. I don’t know exactly what it was, but there has always been something magical about our friendship, our sisterhood. Distance and time never has affected what we have.
Growing up we couldn’t be more different. She wasn’t afraid of anything or anybody. I was afraid of everything. She loved the spotlight and I was always terrified of it. She loved confrontation (still does) and I avoided it at all costs. Its 20 years later, 5 kids between our 2 families, we’ve hardly missed any summer visits. We’ve managed to honor 1 of our pacts. We swore we’d have daughters equal to if not closer than our age difference. Her daughter Sia is 9 months younger than my Sofia, so I’d say as far as childhood pacts we did alright. She lives minutes from her childhood home, and I do too. That’s a promise neither of us can figure out. We still get the giggles when we are together and even if it takes a month of phone tag (I am really not exaggerating, a month) we pick up right where we left off. Amy is one of the smartest, most honest, funniest, beautiful, loving people you will ever meet. If you know me well, you’ve probably met her. She is my girl.
When we were young you were everything I wished I could be. You were fearless. Flying down each summer I remember giving myself a pep-talk wanting so badly to try to “be cool” like you. It never worked because the second I got there and was with you, I could only just be me. But that was enough for you, and so much easier for me. As much as I wanted to be more like you, you seemed to love me the way I came. I was quieter, more timid, and more scared than you were, but as different as you were from all that I was, you liked being with me just the same. Over the years your gift of loving me for exactly who I am has given me more than you know.
Even now as adults, no matter what insecurities, or barriers I create, when I am with you they all come down. And what is left is just me. My entire life you have given me a place to be myself. You have loved me over several phases of my life (remember the nose ring one?). No matter what I have tried out or tried on over the years, you always were there with a hug and a late night talk.
Amy, thank you for loving me without conditions, without judgement. Thank you for seeing through whatever fashion, or trend, or phase I was trying out, to see me underneath all that, and without fail. Thank you for never making me feel like I needed to be anything but who I am. You love me, and celebrate me for who I am, always. Thank you for giving me a place I know I can always be just me and nothing else. You have given me a lifetime of memories and love and sisterhood. Thank you.
I love you.
PS. If I complained to Amy about how lame I was for being a day late with this post, she’d shrug and say “No Worries”, and I think, right no worries, and everything would be cool, just like her.
Allie, loved your kind words. You made me tear up a couple of times with your kindness and sweet thoughts. Love all but the our house smelled. Just kidding, i knew what you ment. (I hope). Thanks again for being so kind to Amy, and all those summer days in Huntington!!!
Tear up? I’m going to take that as a compliment… And smell as in a great smell :)! I love homes that have a special smell, it gives them character. Trust me it is a good thing. My sister in law told me our house has a smell, and I was ecstatic!! Thanks for reading Uncle Paul, and for the summers. XOXO Allison
My best friend Shannon (who now lives in Boston) and I have a very similar relationship. No matter how much time passes we pick up right where we left off. There is nothing more reassuring and special than a friendship like that. I wish she lived near me. She is the brave one too. Pretty sure she can do anything. She’s the yin to my yang. 🙂 Going to call her today.
I hope that Sophia can have the same relationship with her cousin Lucy. As the only two girls of the 8 Howell grandchildren, they share a special bond even though they are six years apart. What special memories you have shared together and will continue to do so!
Sweet blog post and what great memories to have. Every house smells like something. I remember yours smelling clean and fresh like Meyers Basil cleaner. Now that I think of it, ours smells like fried eggs. Blame that on hubby. I like the smell of old cabins. Something about the damp wood with pine trees.