Hi everyone! Guest blogger is back again! Cousin Corny is here to brag about her superstar soccer playing, baby cousin, Rylee.
For those who don’t know, soccer is a huge deal in my family. My older brother was a college soccer player (Go Spartans) and I was a varsity soccer player in high school. The Schembris love soccer so we were beyond excited when we heard Rylee was taking the field.
|Aunt B and Cousin Corny|
Last year when I heard Rylee had joined a soccer team, I knew I had to make it down for a game. There were videos, pictures, and blogs being sent my way to show me what a little stud my baby cousin was turning into. When I couldn’t make my way to San Diego, I was disappointed knowing I was missing out on a big part of Rylee’s life. As a kid, sports are crucial. You not only learn the sport, you learn teamwork, dedication, and commitment. I am so happy that Whitney and Chris chose to let Rylee have this experience. Fast forward to this April, the month of Rylee’s FIFTH birthday (I still can’t believe it), and I experience a phone call that went something like this:
“Hi Birthday Girl! How is your day!?”- Me
“Good. ARE YOU COMING TO MY SOCCER GAME ON SATURDAY?!”-Rylee
Now, let me tell you this: when a 5-year-old says jump, you better say, “how high?” Cousin Corny does not tell Rylee no, I don’t care if she asks me to shave my head, wear a clown suit, and walk up and down the street singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
Before I get into the surprise visit, let me digress a minute to explain a little bit about what being a big cousin means to me. I grew up the youngest of 4 grandkids on the Gould side. My big cousins, Whitney and Bryn, were the oldest, followed by my older brother, and then yours truly to wrap up the show. I IDOLIZED Whitney and Bryn (okay, let’s be honest, I still kind of do) when I was growing up. I can remember trips to Riverside to watch them in dance recitals, trips to Los Gatos where they’d watch me struggle through dance recitals (my rhythm is minimal), and countless bags of hand-me-down clothes that I inherited from my stylish older cousins. I even wore a prom dress of Whitney’s to a winter formal and let me tell you, I felt like 50 million bucks in that thing. Big cousins are a special, crucial part of life and I was blessed with two fabulous ones. The chance to have an impact on Rylee like Whitney and Bryn had on me gives me goose bumps.
|Rylee and her biggest fans|
Back to the story. My mom and I were set to hit Newport the weekend right after Rylee’s fifth birthday. We had big plans to hang with Mimi, lay on the beach, hang out with Bryn, and do a lot of relaxing. Plans quickly changed when my baby cousin placed a phone call specifically requesting my presence at her game. So, there we went. Bryn and I packed up the car, woke up at the crack of dawn, stopped at CVS for poster making supplies, birthday gifts, and headed to good old San Diego on a surprise mission (not even Whitney knew we were coming, and that is a feat in itself).
|Brady wanted to get in on the action|
Bryn and I had the brilliant idea to hold the sign at the door and hide to the side so Rylee could open the door and see her sign and then we’d pop out. Imagine our dismay (sorry Uncle Jeff), when Rylee was out taking her team photo and we were only surprising my aunt and uncle. Anti-climactic to say the least. So we waited. And we played with the B Man (who no longer hates me but doesn’t realize he loves me quite yet), and we hid behind the island in the kitchen when they got back. The look on Rylee’s face was enough to make my entire weekend worth it. The hug I got was tighter than I knew a 5-year-old could squeeze. The smile I got was the kind that I still give when I’m borderline about to cry tears of joy but I’m trying to keep it together. The excitement from all parties was unfathomable. Mission accomplished.
The excitement only grew from there. She showed me her new booster seat (“Mama said when I’m 5 I get to have a booster), she showed me her new bike (“Look at this kick stand, Corny”), she showed me her room (“This is where we had my birthday sleepover”), and she made sure to make every last second of my visit count by inviting me into her world for a few hours. At the soccer field as we pulled up, I said, “Rylee. When you score today, point to me and say, ‘That was for my best cousin Corny!’” And sure enough, that little blonde headed ball of fire scored a goal, hopped up and down, and pointed. Right. At. Me. I have never had to hold back tears so hard in my life.
|I told you there was a lot of pointing.|
We held her poster, we cheered, and we got a lot of points (3 to be exact, hat trick queen). I beamed when her teammate asked who made her poster and she said, “My cousin, Corny.” And I couldn’t have been happier when she wanted to pass with me to warm up before her game. If it were up to me, I’d move to San Diego tomorrow to be at her side every single time she takes the field, the stage, or anything else she decides to do.
My baby cousin is the most special little girl around. She is braver than me, she is funnier than anyone I know, she has talent for days, and she is the sweetest little girl you will ever come across. To say I am lucky to be her “best cousin” is not saying enough. I look at Whitney and Bryn and I think, “How the heck would I know half of what I do if it wasn’t for them?” and I can only hope I teach Rylee the same important things.
|Cousin Corny and Rylee|
Rylee, you are my favorite Purple Star and I am so lucky I got to watch you in action!