Primos, kuyas, cousins — the family members even the Care Bears were smart enough to value.
Not all of us grew up rubbing elbows with brothers or sisters; instead, some of us had our heights taken alongside our cousins.
Cousins can make a profound impact on one’s upbringing and play a major role in a person’s adult life. Just think how different Carlton, Ashley and Hilary Banks would have been without the influence of their cousin Will in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
Here are 10 reasons why cousins rule:
1. If you don’t have siblings, cousins are a close second to the real deal.
Like with siblings, you are extremely protective of your cousins and you make sure they are safe at all times. Sometimes you fight with cousins, but you always wind up letting things go and brushing your differences under the rug.
You shared the tub as babies, ventured to theme parks, tutored each other, had BBQs, took trips to the beach and the park and celebrated birthdays together.
Your cousins were absolutely necessary for watching Disney's One Saturday Morning, trading Pokémon cards, acting out "Power Rangers," eating icees and going batsh*t crazy off of Baby Bottle Pops.
They were your trusty sidekicks, always there to celebrate awesome moments with you and make the ordinary ones just as memorable.
2. While siblings tend to police you, cousins are your partners-in-crime.
It’s sometimes easier to convince cousins to get their hands dirty rather than siblings. Just ask Angelica Pickles. Cousins don’t know your schemes as well as siblings do, so they are more likely to hop on board the Bad Idea Express. They will help you with any task, big or small.
As children, they gave you a boost to reach the forbidden cookies, and as adults, they help you unlock your parents' liquor cabinet.
3. Visiting cousins is more of a choice than a requirement.
Unlike a brother, sister or parent, you’re not stuck in the house with this person.
A cousin is more like a biological BFF since seeing him or her is not always a given; you often choose when you want to see them. You can invite them over for sleepovers or make up an excuse to avoid them at all costs.
Knowing this, when a cousin asks you to hang out, it makes you feel just as special as when a friend hits you up.
4. You can never really overstay your visit at a cousin’s house.
If your friends act questionably, you can always crash at a close cousin’s house. If you’re lucky, you can do this anytime. You can hang out there all day without feeling unwelcome by someone’s parents, roommates or your own friend.
Your cousins are used to seeing you for long periods of time, so it’s no big deal if you want to spend a few hours — or nights — together. What friends may interpret as clingy is completely normal to cousins.
As long as you're with them, you feel home. You can comfortably lounge around or put your feet up without fearing judgment or scrutiny.
5. You feel like you belong.
Your cousins were raised with the same traditions as you, so you have the same weird habits and obscene tendencies. It's also nice you guys share a similar genetic code.
As a result of these factors, you feel sane when you are with these crazies. You also feel less guilty vegging out on the couch or pigging out on pizza once you see your cousins are doing the same.
Cousins can validate and reinforce your tastes and interests. They are guaranteed to know all the lyrics to your favorite childhood songs, and they are fluent in inside jokes from shows or family matters.
Simply put, the reflection of yourself you see in your cousins makes you feel like you fit in somewhere, even if it is alongside your psycho family.
Spitting lyrics to songs you used to belt out when you were rugrats also takes you back to the good old times (the simple times when your biggest fear was accidentally getting gum in your hair).
6. A cousin enthusiastically becomes your Mario, Green Ranger or Colonel Mustard in a heartbeat.
Since you and your squad would dominate any and all competition, hide-and-seek was serious and musical chairs was a dangerous party game.
Clue, Monopoly and Twister were fun, but video games were no joke. Duke Nukem helped boy cousins discover their masculinity, and girl cousins found out what an RPG was, all too quickly.
Mario Party, Super Smash Bros and other multi-player games were staples to your Nintendo repertoire.
Your cousins pooled together the coolest games, and it was exciting to be able to share different consoles and take on new storylines as a team. Thinking about your Rock Band and Gauntlet days still gives you chills.
7. Cousins give you legitimate advice on family matters.
They are the best to vent to when you are having troubles with a sibling, but they are also the preferred familial choice to complain about any other family member.
Why? Because a cousin’s advice is informed. He or she knows exactly who the person you’re complaining about is, and he or she can, therefore, console you and give you sound tips catered to the person with whom you are in conflict.
They are also close, but less close than a sibling, giving them the ability to relay an objective, bird’s eye perspective of your dispute.
Cousins may have even dealt with the same drama with the same relative before, and they, therefore, can give you an exact prescription to remedy the situation.
For example, a cousin could say,
"Aunt Helen is obsessed with cats, so to apologize for breaking her favorite, stupid magnet, you should get her an apology card with a cat on it."
8. If you don’t have siblings, cousins are the only opposite-sex people you can bond with without any chance of sexual tension.
You can go to the movies, the mall, have a sleepover, a road trip or take a car ride without ever having to worry about catching feelings.
9. A cousin is simply the ultimate go-to relative.
Each of you comes from shared ancestors, so you're all like a variation of Coca-Cola. There's Vanilla Coke, Cherry Coke, Diet Coke and Lime Coke, but all are fun and distinct in their own ways.
Cousins are also usually around your age, so they are the go-to person for a cry, laugh, vent session, breather, or secret keeper from your relatives.
One of the best parts of cousins is their age range. For giggles, you can watch a childish movie, or you can do something silly with the youngest. For crying, venting and advice, you can confide in an older cousin.
Most importantly, for shopping, pulling pranks and painting the town red, you can hit up the cousin closest in age. Luckily, there is usually a cousin for every occasion and emotion.
Most importantly, when the dark days come where you have to bury grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents, cousins will be there next to you, crying just like they were as babies, except this time, you're not in the safety of your crib; you're alone in the big, scary, adult world.
Luckily, cousins will remind you of the crazy times you shared with relatives; go through photo books and reveal a piece of their parents within them, keeping those who have passed on alive in the best way possible.
10. A cousin is forever.
Whether you guys have accidentally stumbled upon your uncle’s porn at 5 years old or faced a death in the family, a lot has happened to keep you close from cradle to grave. Even if life causes you to fall out of touch, the present doesn’t erase the past.
You will always remember rug-burning your jeans to hell, serving your time-out sentences and sliding down staircases together.
Life can be messy, but your childhood with your cousins will always remain unscathed by time.
They will be the mac to your cheese, the rum to your coke and the bam to your fam until the very end.