It's a strange thing, this being a "paternal" grandmother... it's like you don't have the same security in the relationship with your sons' children as you do your daughters'. Like the old saying, "a son's a son until he takes a wife but a daughter's your daughter the rest of your life." Fathers have fewer rights and Austin's role has always been to be the breadwinner, which he has done faithfully. Tasha has been a full time mom and she and Cosy are very strongly bonded, meaning that of course, it makes sense that Cosette would go with her mom if/when the relationship fractured. Austin and Tasha's relationship has been rocky, for quite some time and it's always been in the back of my mind that our bond with Cosette could be difficult to maintain if things ended badly.
Initially, long before she was born, I worried about being involved in her life and one day losing our ability to see her. Having loved and lost, as far as my brother's children are concerned, I know how painful it is as an Aunt to lose contact. I don't handle loss well. Or more accurately, I don't put myself in the position to suffer loss any more because of my brother and... well, men in general. Of course, I loved Cosy long before she got here and have loved her intensely all of her little life, from the moment I heard her first cry through the door of the hospital room where she was born. I was willing to take the risk of loving her, to enjoy every moment I had with her and never take for granted the opportunity to be her Nana. I've worked hard to be a friend to Tasha and to support her as a mother as much as I could. Right now, I feel like Tasha and I have a bond independent of her and Austin and I'm hopeful that she will voluntarily continue to allow us to spend time with Cosy. Obviously, it's not the same as having her here, hearing her call, "Nana" from her highchair and spending afternoons playing on the floor with her. Her little toys are still scattered around my living room and I'm hopeful that she will still be over to visit them (and me) often.
Cosette is smart as a whip and remembers stuff like... the other day it was raining so we stood in the shed and I stuck my hand out to feel the rain. She stuck hers out and when it got wet she pulled it back under the shed and then reached back out to pull mine in too. Everyday since then, when we walk through the shed to get to the backyard she reaches her hand out first to see if it's raining. She remembers which flowers we can pick (clover and wildflowers) and which ones we can't (roses). She knows which button on my remote control turns on Netflix, which is where we can find Sofia the First. We play with the same toys when she is with me... we have tea parties and blow bubbles. She knows to hold her hand out flat to show the cats she will touch them "soft". She makes the same clicking sound to call the cats that I do and she pats beside her where she wants them to sit, just like me. We use empty toilet paper rolls like a trumpet and do a little fanfare sound and I say, "introducing... Cosette... Sauls..." she can't quite copy the sound but she tries and the other day she said, "ette"... trying to say "Cosette". She has legitimate memories with me and I want her to be here often enough to still remember the things we do and to make even more memories.
|Cosy and Austin - sleeping in the exact same position|
It's all very selfish of me, of course. I know the most important thing is for Cosy to remain bonded with her daddy, who works an awful lot and who doesn't always handle transitions well. I know it's a bigger issue for Tasha to take on more responsibility. And it's important for Cosy to know she is loved by all of us, on both sides of the family. Truly, I know this isn't about me. And, like I said when I started this, this week has been so tragic for so many. I know there are people with much larger concerns. I know that God already knows what every day in her life will be like and I know He isn't the least bit surprised by this turn of events. He's got this. We've got this.
On a happy note...I've been snagging photos from the past week from Vacation Bible School that I thought I'd share...
|Sarabeth (r) and my adopted niece Jorjanne, leading a drama at VBS. They're so grown!|
My dad teaching a class of rowdy boys.
Pictures of Cosy in her first bikini: