• Stella Tessler

ABOVE THE FOLD: Love Grows Here

Sometimes words flow and sometimes I stare at a flashing cursor for an hour. Today it is the latter. I am sitting at the dining room table at my cousin's house enjoying the hilarity that ensues when the Koutrakos lunatics find themselves in one location (I'm quite confident they all have hearing problems). It's been a great week. People I love received the best news after going through months of not so great news. Dan and I are excited about moving to our new cottage by the sea. I even got a quick hug and kiss from my LA-based movie producer son who is filming on location on Long Island.

Our son, Michael, CEO of Multihouse Entertainment.

It's hard to focus on writing when one cousin is asking another cousin what their favorite vegetable is and the reply is, "Prime Rib." These crazy people fill my life with so much laughter, love and absolute insanity. We've shared the deepest grief and celebrated life's greatest joys. In between, we just exist in each other's worlds. It's these moments that are the best.

There is something about cousins that is different from all other relationships. Dan's extended familiy is quite small, and he never experienced the cousin relationships I have. I think he's still confused and overwhelmed by it all. But, he totally loves it.

Maybe it's because we're Greek: we're loud, we're in each other's business (in a good way - most of the time), we're fiercely loyal, we're brutally honest, we're passionate and each of us would do anything for the other. Add our Spartan roots, and we are the original warriors.

We're also batshit crazy.

Seriously. Not kidding. I don't even know what we're talking about half the time. One conversation melds into another all while another is being shouted from the other side of the house.

The guys just chilling on a Saturday morning.

We are all so comfortable with one another, that we can also sit in silence and simply enjoy each other's company. Nothing is ever forced. Nothing is ever owed. Food and drink and rides and favors are shared without any thought or expectation of reciprocation. It's perfection, especially since we are all exceptional cooks. Well, except for one. But, we make him take out the garbage to make up for it.

Love grows here. So much so, that my extraordinarly talented cousin co-wrote a song by that title. It's lyrics always remind me of the beauty of family.

I am so happy to be spending the day with these lovable goofballs. I hope you all are spending the day with yours.

Please click to listen to Lina's song, Love Grows Here:


Stella lives in Port Jefferson, NY and Orlando, FL (mostly Port Jefferson, these days) with her husband, Dan, and her loving and lazy yellow lab, Toby. She's the mom of three totally self-sufficient adults (serious shout-out here, folks). She's crazy in love with her gorgeous and brilliant grandchildren, James and Lilly (not named for Harry Potter's parents, but love the connection). She's the Co-Founder of eleven07 Main, a Public Relations Firm, located in New York. Cooking for those she loves is her passion. In all she does, she lives by the motto: Pay It Forward.

© Copyright, 2019 by Stella Tessler.

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