This article is not sponsored by Starbucks, I just wrote it while I was there.If you don’t have an older cousin in your life who has basically been your fairy God-cousin for the majority of your life span, then I hate it for you.I have had the pleasure of having very special older cousins in my life who I have of always been able to lean on in times of heartache and pain… sunshine and rain. This has played a significant role in my esteem over the years and I want to use this article as a way to acknowledge that… we are the females of the future.The truly magical thing about older cousins is that they are completely honest with you because they have nothing to hide. They have all of the love and constructive criticism to give. You often listen to them before you would your parents or siblings, and they are completely instrumental in your development as a young child. They fight for you, put you up on the newest of everything, they do or cut your hair, give you style advice, and sprinkle bits of wisdom into your soul even when you dont want it. Let’s be clear. I’m not talking about all older cousins I’m talking about the ones who you can reach out too anytime of the day and then make everything seem so much better.I have an older cousin and her name is Julia.I remember the first time I met her. She was the sassy and classy older cousin that came down to the “country” coastal Ga from the city of Atlanta. She was in the backyard of my grandma neighbors house playing basketball with my boy cousins. I remember her long hair straight hair and black plastic framed glasses. She was so intelligent and feminine, but she was also winning the game against the boy cousins! Automatic cool points. I was fascinated. She probably was only around 14 at the time. But our relationship truly flourished years later, when I was around 19. She randomly called me one day and it was all she wrote. She would come to pick me up from Spelman, fix my hair, and take me all over the city. She’d take me to photo shoots, and open mics, and food places I would have never known about if it wasn’t for her (I miss SAMBUCA). I would hop in the passenger seat of her red car and see the beautiful skyline weekend after weekend blasting Trey Songz. Because of her, I have learned to believe in your power as a young woman, to stay positive and classy, and to deal gracefully with the challenges of life. Julia, you are a rare and majestic being. I love you beyond words.My cousin in particular Whitney has been there for me and has loved me through my flaws for basically my entire life.I can call Whitney when I’ve been crying because I need my heart fixed or my hair fixed. She is, and has always been, someone I could talk to who would never judge me. No matter what. I called her two weeks ago and in the middle of the conversation, I stated but “I’ve haven’t felt this way since..” and she replied. “I already know… you don’t have to say it”. That’s how much she gets me! Immediate tears. She is a rare individual; to know her is to love her.I’d like to acknowledge her for all of the time she’s wiped my tears away, for all of the time she’s told me that I am way more talented and capable of anything I could ever think, for all of the times that she’s protected me when other little girls tried to fight me in the first grade, even though she knew I could hold my own. Here is for the laughter, the times that we have plotted out our lies –only to discover that momma had already eves’ dropped on us. Here’s for the night we lost our grandma and we cried standing in the middle of the road right in front of her house. This is for the valleys and the mountains that we have traveled through in life so far and not only became the closest of cousins but lived like sisters along the way.Honestly, we are in a world where people lack true love from family members or have an absence of them. I am grateful that I have been able to experience life with you and to have you as my backbone when I didn’t feel like standing anymore.To my cousins, I honor and appreciate you both. I love you…and ALL of my cousins. My wish for the world is that everyone gets to experience true love and bonding with a special older cousin. They are a critical element to incredible childhood adventures and emotional growth.To my readers…have you had someone who you could tell stories about when y’all got into trouble running the streets? Do you have someone who is willing to push you through your pain into your purpose because they believe in you and tell you that you are the “ish” in everything you do? Do you have a special older cousin? I know I do. Let’s celebrate them today. And every day.