Keeping up with the cousins: Marian style

column by sydneymonahan

sp-network-staff-pictures-1“Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind, or forgotten,” is a beloved quote from the movie “Lilo and Stitch.”

To most people this quote is completely relatable in the sense of immediate family. To me, this means all my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins.

Other Marian girls think they might have a cousin Sue who lives somewhere obsolete like Wisconsin, but in my case, I am so close to my extended family on both my mom’s side and dad’s side that it would be really hard to forget or leave anyone behind.

To be exact, I have 38 first cousins. My dad has six sisters who all attended Marian and they all have at least three children.

I’m sure at this point you are unimpressed with these numbers, but wait, here comes the shocker.

Of all these cousins, I have a total of four cousins who are in my grade…. yes four. One of them lives out of state, but I know if she would have been raised in good ole farming Nebraska she would have been a Crusader too. So that leaves me with three here at Marian.

I like to think of us as a super hero squad- we have Mighty Mackenzie Freed, Amazing Anna Kirby, Beaming Bella Carollo and me, their fearless leader, Super Sydney.

When you have three cousins that you see every day in school, family drama is discussed at school and school drama is discussed at family events.

I’d now like to paint a picture of this with a few examples.

It’s a normal Monday morning, and I waltz into school expecting today to be like every other day, but wow was I wrong.

As I turn the corner, I am suddenly being smashed into a locker by none other than Beaming Bella.

She is yelling some nonsense about a family bowling outing. Most of the hallway is chanting “fight, fight, fight,”–you know, like in the movies.

Bella claims that I have betrayed her because I will not be attending the family bowling event this upcoming weekend with our younger cousins. When she states that I have abandoned her, she is not dramatic at all.

A sacred cousin oath is that we must stick together, especially when it comes to “family bowling outings” or any other family event that makes you sick just thinking about it.

I knew I was letting her down and that no one would assume the position of the “So what college are you going to?” question blocker. She would have to fend for herself.

After about ten more minutes of hallway yelling, Bella calmed down and accepted her fate.

Now for an example of school mixing into family life: imagine a Monahan family Sunday spaghetti dinner at our grandma JoAnn’s house. The only problem is I’m sure you can’t because there is nothing like it.

There are children running around yelling for their parent’s attention, while the parents are attempting to have non-political discussions.

Meanwhile, across the room the older cousins are fighting for the last sacred meatball, and JoAnn is probably making 13 pies or something else outrageous.

Eventually the dust settles and everyone more or less has a place to eat. One of the many aunts asks the trio of Anna, Mackenzie and myself, “How is school going”.

Trying to think of something quick to say I blurt out, “Great, and I’m so glad I finished that huge essay!” I see across the table how the color drains from both Anna’s and Mackenzie’s face. I broke yet another sacred cousin rule.

I talked about a school assignment that most of the trio probably hasn’t completed. Anna and Mackenzie shoot out of their seats and run in the opposite direction of their yelling parents ignoring the screams of “You told me all your homework was done!”

On the flip side of cousin drama there is also a daily assurance that, if I need it, I have three people in the same building as me that I have known almost my whole life and I know would do anything for me. If you ask me, that’s pretty special.

The moral of these stories is that going to high school with four of your cousins has benefits and drawbacks.

In the end, I got the opportunity to spend four of the best years of my life with these BC4L (best cousins for life, it’s a cousin thing, you wouldn’t get it).

One thing is for sure, I am going to miss my crazy, crime-fighting cousins when we all go off our separate journeys next year.

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