I have a pretty large extended family, being Catholic and all. Most of my cousins are more than 15 years older than me - and only a handful of cousins in my age group. The beauty of this generational spread is the ability to learn life lessons from peers with a great deal more maturity and life experience.
My oldest cousin on my mom's side of the family is a brilliant and brilliantly witty man - married to a woman who is clever enough to keep him on his toes.
Shortly after their daughter was married, my cousin's wife posed a hypothetical question: "If you and (our daughter's husband) are both drowning... who do you want me to save?"
This question flabbergasted him. Suddenly, he was torn between being the man charged with caring for and protecting this lovely young girl for the past 25 years - and the knowledge that there was another man, whom God has chosen for her, given the same charge.
Perhaps more so, he was struck with the realization that his loving daughter's life might be affected much more dramatically from the loss of this 'new guy' than it might if he himself met an untimely demise.
It's an incredible, thought-provoking hypothetical.
Just what is love? What are you willing to sacrifice for the people you love the most? How do you determine what is best for them?
Last week, Mr. Burns shared his own realization with me. Said he; "I'm learning that I'm more concerned about your well-being than my own."
In the words of the incomparable Bridget Jones, "An excellent year's progress."