When I was a young kid, my aunt adopted a daughter. This was pretty bold of her for a bunch of reasons. For one thing, adoption was not as socially acceptable back then (TV shows would occasionally have plots that had kids worrying that they'd been adopted, and discovering to their relief that they hadn't been! They were "real" kids! Phew!) For another thing, my aunt was a single woman. And for a third thing, she was adopting across race lines.
Clearly, my aunt's example influenced me a lot. It meant even more to me when we got the good news that her second adopted child had been born on my 17th birthday. My birthday cousin! Little Jordan was adorable.
But by the time Jordan himself turned 17, my mom and my aunt had had a falling out, so I haven't seen my birthday cousin in years and years. This trip to Columbus has been a chance to catch up with him, since he still lives out here. It has been a real treat to see how he's doing. It's also really cool to finally have my sons meet their first-cousin-once-removed. They got tight right away. (This is one of those expensive restaurant meals we've been having that I both twitch at but also know are indispensable and totally worth it).
Jordan's doing great. He's had a remarkable career in the public service sector, serving as principal of several high schools, getting a PhD in human services analytics, serving as a regional administrator for juvenile parole offices (the boys got to hold his badge, as you can see above), starting his own consulting firm, teaching more than a few graduate courses, and generally doing really well. His wife, who teaches high school math (yay!), couldn't make it to dinner, unfortunately, but it was darned good to hear how well his life is going.
My favorite memory of Jordan is him as an adorable little 3 year old in a jacket and bowtie, telling me at my first wedding that I looked "like a fairy princess". Neither of us look quite like that anymore, but I think I like the current version even more.
As a result of this visit, I've gotten the chance to remember some arcane info I learned from my hero, Miss Manners (aka Judith Martin).
- Jordan and I are first cousins.
- Jordan and my sons are therefore first cousins, once removed. ("Removed", because they're one generation apart).
- If Jordan and his wife ever have adopt children, those children and my sons will be second cousins.