My cousin Bonnie turned 60 this week in Boston. She’s a half-year older than me, which is the source of my concern. (The last time I looked, I was 45).

Bonnie’s dad and my mom were brother and sister. Uncle Bob and Aunt Etty had four kids; there was just my brother and myself. We spent a decent amount of time together growing up, when the families were closer…Swimming, family picnics, birthday parties, Hebrew school… Family politics estranged our parents, and then life, at some level distanced the cousins.

The feeling of family, though, never vanished.

It’s funny how you view things; everyone has his own lens. I saw Bonnie as smarter than me, cooler than me, and, trust me, she always did the right thing. (The extended family seemed to like her more). And in high school, she dated…something I never did.

My brother and I saw Bonnie’s family as the rich family. They had a house with more bathrooms than we had bedrooms. Our cousins were never effected; they were just our cousins. Still, when our parents’ marriage hit the skids, and Uncle Bob retired to Florida in the early 60’s….well, when they returned a few years later…..the families just never fully reconnected.

So Bonnie went to school in Wisconsin, married a doctor and has lived happily ever after in Massachusetts. I went to Ohio State, married my first girlfriend, got divorced, etc., etc. etc….

And now, 40 years later, she’s turned 60 on me. I haven’t seen her in years, but my sense is she no longer looks 18. She may even have a gray hair or two.

I don’t want my cousin Bonnie to be 60. I don’t want to know that two generations have passed since we last swam together, or were at the same Seder. I don’t want to know that I am no longer 45.

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