Kissin’ Cousins

I don’t know if it’s still considered a confession when most of you know this, but here goes anyway: Trent and I are related. By more than our marriage. This uncomfortable punchline was discovered almost 12 (!) years ago in the summer of 1996 when we first started dating. Our parents lived only about 40 minutes from each other, and so were very curious to meet the family of their child’s new significant other. When we were home from college, Trent’s family invited mine over for dinner. Trent and I had already realized that we came from similar backgrounds, the same denominational church and even attended the same camp for most of our lives, so we figured the folks would at least get along.

What we did NOT expect was to step outside of the BBQ for a few minutes, then come back inside to see our moms holding hands and for one (I can’t remember which) to say with glee: “Guess what?!? We’re RELATED!” I can only imagine the blank stare and dropped jaw look on our faces. Did this mean we had to break up? Why were they so happy? Turns out if you go back five “great’s,” then his mom and I are the same generation of a family line. This was unsettling for me, but downright annoying for my dear, commitment-phobe husband. He was hoping our parents would meet, be cordial, and then go their own ways until we either broke up or got married 7 years down the road. To have them LIKE each other and be RELATED was not in his plans. Of course, our first question was…what does this mean? We all pretty much agreed that the relation is so far back that hopefully it wouldn’t gross anyone out and that if we ever had kids (the discussion of which, at that point, also sent Trent into cold sweats) hopefully they wouldn’t be deformed.

Obviously it did not stop us from getting married (5, not 7 years later), we have had one beautiful, non-deformed child, and other than a not-so-subtle reminder from Trent’s uncle every time we see him, it hasn’t really come up. Then last night Trent was going through a bunch of stuff his mom gave him from their house. Stuff like his high school yearbooks, pictures of old girlfriends (thrown away, thank you very much) and some family memorablia. One of the things–from HIS family–was an old Bible from 1881 signed from father to son, John Mulkey to J.F. Mulkey, if I’m reading the handwriting right. Mulkey is MY family’s name! It’s my mom’s maiden name. To see that name on stuff coming from Trent’s family was just a little reminder that our children’s family tree doesn’t branch out exactly like most people’s! Ha! We both looked at each other with these awkward smiles and thanked the Lord that Carson has only one head and all his limbs. I guess it’s just God’s sense of humor to have us find each other in a world of non-relatives.


  1. HOW DID THIS NOT SHOW UP IN YOUR LAST ‘MEME’?!?!?! And I hate to break it to you (and so sorry if your g-ma is reading this), but you can’t really expect me to believe you’re only “kissin'” cousins…ahem…there’s a cute little boy by the name of Carson who begs to differ. I love how the last paragraph begins to lead me down the path of Carson’s existence and then winds up getting spiritual with the discovery of the 1881 Bible…clever Jen, clever. I guess now we’ll never know.:) I’m gonna need a follow up blog on this one with many old family photos.:) LOVE YOU!

  2. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew! Just kidding. 🙂 I love this fun fact about Jen and Trent. I also love that Carson can honestly tell his friends one day, “Yeah…my mom and dad are cousins.” HA!

  3. I can’t help but think of you two every time I see the 30 Rock episode where she dates a distant cousin (“The Head” / “The Hair” episode).

    If you go that far back though, it’s pretty distant! What are you, like 9th cousins 5 times removed? (I never know how that works)

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