Home > Life, Uncategorized > Cousins and confetti hearts.

Cousins and confetti hearts.

I had no expectations for last night. All I knew was that after training, I was going to head over to 15th and South for the opening of my friend’s showroom. Nicole and I have been buddies since we were maybe 16 years old. In our adult lives, Nicole has worked endlessly as fashion designer to elevate Philly fashion through her line, Lobo Mau. Last night, she and her partners were having a celebration for the opening of their new shop. I was excited for Nicole and so proud. Knowing how many supporters she and her partners would have at their event, I asked my cousins, cutest married couple Noah and Shawnette, if they were interested in going with me for a few reasons: 1) They love art and fashion 2) They like supporting Philly artists of all kinds and 3) I wanted to have some buddies with me so I wasn’t squished in a corner trying to figure out how to make small talk with strangers. When I asked, Shawnette wasn’t sure if it was going to happen. I know their lives are jam-packed with work and kids and projects, so I didn’t push it. By the time I headed over to the showroom, I had put it out of my head that I’d see my cousins.

When I arrived at the event, the space was spilling over with people. I saw Nicole right away and we gave each other a girly, squeely hug. As she began introducing her to some of her friends and colleagues, she said, “Oh! I see Noah!” I turned and in stroll Noah and Shawnette. I think my heart burst in an explosion of love-colored confetti. As Nicole continued on with her hosting, Noah, Shawnette, and I examined the pieces in the showroom and got caught up in the energy in the room. Noah and Shawnette go to a lot of gallery and exhibit openings, so they are good at assessing scenes. Even though I’m a novice, I could tell it was a good scene. As the event came to a close, we  we did not want to stop having fun and decided to get some food. It was all I could to restrain myself from bouncing up and down like a little Tigger. After some silly, drawn-out postulating over the optimal dinner spot, we decided to get Ethiopian in my neighborhood in West Philly.


Me and my cuzzies out on the town like grown-ups. Shawnette’s jaunty barrette courtesy of her mommy. Not shown: Noah’s leather sweatpants.

During the car ride to the restaurant and all during dinner, I was equal parts relaxed and giddy. I felt 100% like myself. But not like an overly comfortable lazy self. Like a chill, happy, confident, curious self. My cousins are my family in the best sense. We rely on each other for terrible grandpop-style jokes and making up ridiculous songs, but I know if I want to have a real conversation or need advice or some perspective, Noah and Shawnette will never let me down. The rest of the night, we talked about relationships, families, taking risks, going after your passion, personal growth, race, and identity. It was the kind of night where you talk about anything and everything. If the three of us were younger with less responsibilities, we probably would have stayed up til four in the morning carrying on.

I feel like my best self around Noah and Shawnette because they bring out the the thingss I like in me. How lucky am I to be related to two people who are so fiercely intelligent, hilarious, creative, and motivated? Beyond that, they are loving and generous. I can’t help but feel at ease around them. I knew I missed my cousins. I hadn’t seen them since Christmas Eve. After we said goodbye, I realized I’d had a giant Noah and Shawnette-sized hole in my heart. It’s filled again. I don’t even mind knowing that I’ll miss badly again since I know they will keep surprising me and making my heart burst into confetti over and over again for the rest of my life.


  1. sarak5
    February 13, 2016 at 18:00

    So happy to read this, Lori. With you all in spirit . . . Cousin Sara xxxooo

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