Kinship characterized by the sharing of common ancestors
I learned this fancy word in law school. It is important in estate law to determine inheritances. You need to know how folks are related and who is “closest” to a dearly-departed. For example, it is critical when you have to ferret among the clamoring long-lost relatives who want to claim pots of gold left by childless, eccentric old aunts who died among dozens of cats and such.
Yes, yes, I learned all this esoterica in law school…haven’t used it since.
I had occasion to reacquaint with a cousin yesterday. K is the child of my father's cousin, which made her What??? to me? Consanguineous, to be sure, but how else to describe our familial relationship?
Being the smarty-pants lawyer that I am, I knew about and, therefore, consulted the "Tables of Consanguinity." There is one below for your viewing pleasure (feel free to whip it out at Thanksgiving for figuring out who’s who in your own family):
After furrowing my brow over this table for a while and, not being an estate lawyer, nimble in the ways of kinship, I gave up and googled the question: "What is my father's cousin to me???"
And there discovered that my father's cousin is my first cousin once removed. Therefore, my father's cousin's child (K!) would be my second cousin. (Oh, lawzy! I won’t even get into the “removed cousin” thing…).
K is "long, lost" in the sense that we have not seen each other in, literally, years. This is unfortunate and amazing since I like K so very much. Our fathers were close, important to each other; and it seems we could make a better effort at being the same. We are, by google-map, only 16 miles apart.
Why do we lose contact? I don't know. Chalk it up to time, as in never enough. But it felt good to reconnect for the hour or so we were together. K brought up a shared childhood memory that I had often thought about and questioned whether my young mind had fabricated…but, no, K was there, too, and had found the experience as significant as I did. I had not remembered that she was there, but I am grateful for the independent witness this provided to my memory.
I discovered that there must be some strong strains in the old DNA. K, like me, is “crafter,” although I suspect she probably actually finishes projects, unlike yours truly. And, like me, she loves words. She is a blogger, too. Go visit her at thepolkadotskirt.net.
So, there is, truly, a kinship.
Being with K felt like going home in some way. Hopefully we can keep it up. C.
PS – probably something K and I WON’T be sharing is some pot o’ gold from a long-lost relative…the luck factor has never been that strong in our family lines!