Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tat and Me
(personal and sentimental, if you're not adverse, keep reading...if you are, check out Mr Anchovy where I've been guest blogging with *(Asterisk) this week)

There is a 14 year age difference between my cousin Tatijana and me.
It's hard to believe that she's caught up to me...and it's true that what we did and what we said a hundred years ago means something to someone.

When Tat was a little girl, I was already on the cusp of adulthood.
I was in school and living in a flat around the corner from my Uja's store.
I had dinner there every night, and then I would go home to study.
Uja could see into my kitchen from his back terrace whenever he wanted to make sure I was studying.
Today, Tat is a busy woman, with a busy life, and we don't get a lot of time to just "hang".
We've been trying to get together for over a month, and today she stopped by my office to have a coffee with me and drop off a birthday gift she's been trying to give me.
When I opened the gift, and held the card in my hand...she said, "read it later".
Oh, what a Milinkov she is...while it runs in the family to be quite soft hearted and emotional, we really don't do the whole "I loooooove you sooooo much" thing. Probably because we are ....Hard heads with soft hearts.

When I got home, I pulled the card out.
It's small, and both sides are covered in miniscule writing.
She mentioned Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time", and memories she had that I had almost forgotten.
Forcing her and her sister to listen to me read The Narnia Chronicles because no one read to me as a child, and I knew her parents didn't read to them.
I, at that time had what was considered "ecclectic" taste in clothes and style. Hey, it was the '80's, and my wardrobe consisted of vintage dresses, and bright red lipstick. My hair changed constantly, and I was off the beaten path.

I did things with Tat, and her sister that I wished an older sister or cousin could have done with me. I grew up alone, with no cousins my age, and no siblings.
So, we made gingerbread houses at Christmas time, and coloured eggs at Easter.
We went to The Planetarium, Art Galleries, the Museum and to the movies. All things that I wanted done with me when I was her age.
Things that busy and pragmatic immigrant parents don't have time for.
Blowing bubble gum bubbles, and trying all kinds of different foods. Tat and her sister Deja would spend hours "doing my hair", and Tat would go through my purse everytime I set it down.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that you never really comprehend what touch you have on people, and while I was busy living what I felt I missed out on, but playing a different role (the older cousin and not the child), she was absorbing that.
And it meant something.
To both of us.
I know that Tat reads this blog often enough, and she knows that I love her.
When Uja was in the hospital, Tat and I were talking, and I said to her: "When they go Tat, we only have each other, me and Deja...", and it shouldn't take a crisis to realize that.
It doesn't hurt to celebrate family.
Especially when you don't have much of one.