Saugus residents Cade Gallagher, Tim Angelo and Emma Enright aren’t just cousins, they’re like siblings.
“I would say we are brother and sister, instead of cousins,” Enright said. “We’ve always been close.”
Angelo areed, adding he’s always considered it that way.
Each born only two weeks apart — which Gallagher says was “perfect timing” — all three have been together their entire lives, learning to navigate the world side by side.
“We’ve always been super close since we were born because we’re not that far apart,” Gallagher added. “We’ve always just done everything together.”
Their mothers, Stacie Gallagher, Stefanie Angelo and Jodie Enright, grew up the same way: sisters and each only two years apart.
While not planned, the sisters all married and started families around the same time, so they knew they’d end up having kids close together — just not this close.
“It was like having triplets,” the sisters’ mother, Marcia Pinto, said, chuckling.
“We all just came over to each other’s houses and held them or put them on their backs together, because there’s nothing to do when they’re brand new, so you want someone to hang out with,” Stefanie added.
Even then, it wasn’t just the three cousins, as their siblings quickly followed, for a total of seven cousins who grew up together, all within four years of each other.
“I’d always take the seven of them together, never just one,” Pinto said. “Then, I got a bigger car so I could have them all with me.”
As new mothers, the sisters quickly learned to rely on each other for help.
“Honestly, it was like a playgroup that was so easy,” Stacie added.
Even though Angelo went to a different elementary school, because each family lived close by, the cousins still would always be together, and you’d never know whose kids were at whose house, according to Pinto.
“If one did indoor soccer, they all did indoor soccer,” Stefanie said. “And, everyone just kind of did their own thing, but they still ended up liking the same stuff.”
While Angelo and Gallagher played football together since they were 6 years old, Enright would be right there with them, cheering them on from the sidelines as a cheerleader.
“They’re family that just turn into best friends,” Jodie added.
Growing up, the cousins fondly remember some of their family traditions, like going to Baskin Robbins and Eggs N Things every birthday.
“I remember every birthday, I’d miss school and then I’d hang out with all of them,” Gallagher said. “I never went to school on my birthday.”
“We’d skip school for each other’s birthdays, (too), and hang out, a lot of times in (Cade’s) backyard with the lights on playing football until after dark,” Angelo added.
Now all grown up, the cousins are starting to realize how lucky they are to have each other.
“I don’t think they know any different,” Jodie said. “They rely on each other a lot. … It’s really not even a cousin thing now it’s more of a friend thing.”
“Growing up you think everybody’s family’s like this, but they’re not,” Angelo added. “I love it. They’re always around, there’s always somebody there for you, so it’s perfect.”
When their senior year at Saugus High School took a turn last November after the shooting, the cousins and their mothers started to realize what their bond meant.
“It was good to have each other there,” Jodie said. “Even after the fact, going back to school, knowing that these three (were together) made it a little more comforting.”
Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which took away many of their senior activities, including prom and graduation. And, though it wasn’t the senior year they had planned, at least they had each other, Gallagher said.
“I think the whole (situation) is going to benefit us in the future because you get curveballs in life and you have to go with it and figure out how to adapt,” Angelo added.
For graduation, they rented a large van, piling all the families in so they could still celebrate together.
“It was pretty fun,” Angelo said. “We pulled through like three different times for each of us.”
“It was crazy,” Enright added, chuckling.
Now, all three are ready for their next chapters, which will split them up for the first time in 18 years, though they still won’t be too far away.
While Gallagher will be going to College of the Canyons, Enright will be at Grand Canyon University, only a 20-minute drive from Angelo at Arizona State University.
“It’s gonna be scary,” Angelo said. “Personally, I’m scared at least.”
“I’m not scared, I’m just going to be so lonely,” Gallagher added, though all three agreed he’d be a permanent resident in both Enright and Angelo’s dorm rooms.
When the time comes, they all agree they hope they, too, have kids at the same time, allowing their kids to experience the same bonds they created as cousins turned siblings.