What does it mean to be one of “The Cousins?”
My new brother-in-law recently posted a picture from his wedding to my sister on Facebook.
I giggled when I saw the comment on the picture from my brother-in-law. He wrote, “So is this what it’s like to be Italian? And this is only SOME of ‘The Cousins’!”
The picture has over 30 of us, all Visalli cousins, posed together at my sister’s wedding. It is a beautiful picture full of hugs, smiles, and maybe a fist pump in the background.
And that is not even all of us, as my brother-in-law so wittily mentioned.
You might think with a family this large, get togethers would be few and far between. Maybe some family lives farther away. Who really has the space to host that many people? Or maybe, with that many members of the family, only a few are really close enough to get together often.
Yet, the Visalli clan thrives on family get togethers.
Whether we are rejoicing a new marriage, attending my cousins’ annual V-fest, or most recently, celebrating the passing of life to eternal life of one of our youngest, the Visallis are never hesitant to gather and spend time together.
My family means the world to me.
Any time I have a problem, it is a member of my family who is there to comfort me or offer a solution.
My family is my support system. If my dreams and goals are at the top of the stairs, I could never reach them without the support of every single step along the way.
So, what does it mean to be one of these cousins?
Being a Visalli cousin means that you will always have someone to fix a meal for you when you are hungry. And boy, do those Italians cook good meals!
It means that you will always have someone to say a prayer for you when you’re in need.
You will always have someone to trust and to call.
There will always be someone with whom you can explore the world and relax.
You always have someone to listen, to hug, or to dance with at wedding!
There will always be someone on whose shoulder you can cry, and someone who will be there to celebrate your successes.
As a Visalli cousin, I know I will always have someone to look up to and someone to help shine light on my path. There will always be someone to respect for all they have done for me.
However, the best part of being in that picture, and being a Visalli cousin, is knowing that you will always be loved.
And that is the greatest feeling in the world.
This column was written in memory of Ryan Clark. Ryan, you will always be loved. Rest in peace.
Visalli, 25, is a special education teacher in Fairfax, Virginia.