In hon­our of cousins

NZ Lifestyle Block - - From The Editor - Www.nzlifestyle­ www.face­ lifestyle­block BY NADENE HALL

I have a strange fam­ily. I didn’t know this un­til I went to col­lege and dis­cov­ered that most peo­ple didn’t know their cousins. Some had never met them.

This was a for­eign con­cept to me. I knew all of my cousins, and sev­eral were close friends. I met most of them on the day they were born. orn.

Fast-for­ward 25 years and I’m still closel to my cousins,i and d they’veh ’ cre­ated d a new gen­er­a­tion. I am of­fi­cially the aunt of two gor­geous young men - Chris­tian (7) and Matthew (5) - but there’s a whole list of small peo­ple I con­sider ‘mine’. There’s Cory, Co­hen, Katie, Zara, Felic­ity, Rhian, Chloe, Frances, Re­becca, Pre­ston, Blake... and I’ve had to edit this to just the youngest ones so their names fit on the page.

Then there’s Ruby (7). Ruby is the eldest daugh­ter of my cousin-in-law Kylie and Pete. Pete is the first baby I re­mem­ber hold­ing, and my first nappy change. He was luck­ier than our cousin Ni­cole, the first (and only) baby I poked in the tummy with a safety pin. For­tu­nately, she got over the trauma. I know I didn’t.

Kylie and I share a love of goats, and now Ruby does too. But their block is fenced for sheep and cows, not goats, so Ruby’s Ag Day kids have had to be teth­ered. Her first goat, Humphrey, lived with her Grandad un­til he lib­er­ated him­self to live with a herd of deer in nearby bush. Jesse was still at home with the fam­ily, so I sug­gested that per­haps she could come and stay with my herd so she had some com­pany and could wan­der freely.

This was a leap of faith for Ruby, still fret­ting about the loss of Humphrey. We took a walk to see Jesse and yarned about our favourite goats. Ruby was wor­ried Jesse might es­cape, and I ex­plained that Jesse would be be­hind good ‘goat’ fences, and that when goats live in a group, they tend to stick to­gether.

Much like cousins. And even bet­ter, there’s more and more of them to love as the years go by.

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