She woke up bright and early on the morning on her fifth birthday. It wasn’t just her birthday that excited her though, they were going to her aunt and uncle’s later, which meant that she would get to see her cousin, her hero. She loved her cousin and looked up to him like he was the greatest person on Earth. In her eyes, he was.
It wasn’t often that she got to see her cousin, so when they did go to visit, she cherished each moment. She asked him to play games with her or to help her with a puzzle or putting together a piece that she didn’t get. Although he was seventeen years older than she was, he usually got down on the floor and played with her or helped her with the piece until she got it. No one else was like that with her; they seemed to make up excuses to not play with her, but he never did. He always played with her, and whenever he looked in her direction he had a smile on his face.
Fast-forward ten years and the two sides of the family have grown apart. She didn’t know why, but she only saw her aunt and uncle maybe once a year if she was lucky. She hasn’t seen her cousin in nearly ten years, which broke her heart the most. She was young when she last saw him, but she could still remember him clearly and why he was her hero. What she couldn’t recall, however, was why her mother and her uncle weren’t close. She tried to ask several times why they never saw her aunt and uncle, but it was a topic of no discussion in their house. Whenever she brought it up, the subject was quickly changed. Her questions were left unanswered, but her heart still longed to see them again.
When her grandmother got sick and passed away, her uncle was there almost every day to help with arrangements and provided support for her and her mother. It was almost a closure when she saw her cousin again the day before the funeral. Her eyes lit up when he walked in, just like when she was five. He had changed from the last time she saw him, but she immediately recognized him. He walked over to her and hugged her tight. She knew that it wouldn’t be the last time, and she made a vow to herself that they would keep in touch from now on. They talked a lot while he was down and she felt the connection grow strong again. He invited her to come up and visit him and the girls anytime, which she was finally able to do a couple months later.
Although it was only for a few days, the time she spent with her cousin and his two little girls made up for the time she never got up growing up. She could see now that he wasn’t perfect and that he made his share of mistakes, but he was also willing to make up for those mistakes and try again. She still admired him, and here eyes, he was still a hero. He was her hero.