My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, June 19, 2016

This Past Week

What a crazy emotional week this past week has been! The shooting in Orlando... then the tragic death of the little boy at Disney... and my granddaughter and her mom moved out of our house.

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. 

I have a lot of residual guilt that my sons aren't close to their paternal grandmother. I mean, when I "logic it out," I realize that there wasn't much I could do. She didn't really bother with them much. Their dad didn't (doesn't) have any relationship with his mom so for the most part it wasn't as if he was taking them to her house. There were real issues that I had to protect my children from where she was concerned. Her husband was a bad man. He is in jail for kidnapping and beating my ex-mother-in-law's step-mother to within an inch of her life. He was involved with drugs, to the extent that there was a raid on their house while Ryan was there. These are obviously not concerns that Tasha would have with Cosette being here. Our house is safe. Austin and I have an extremely close bond. When he spends time with Cosy, I'll spend time with Cosy. She's just down the street. We can do this. Tasha's parents are crazy about Cosy, too, and I know they will take good care of her.

But still... when I held her yesterday while Tasha and her dad loaded up their stuff... I whispered in her ear, "I will always be your Nana and I will always love you, " which is the same thing I told her the first time I held her. I took pictures of us together even though I was definitely not looking my best. Rolling around on the floor with a toddler when you're not quite a month out from major surgery... it's not pretty. I made sure to take her outside to pick blackberries like we've don't every day here recently. I was hot and sweaty and frizzy and... yet, I still wanted to record those memories.

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
I know with my niece Sarabeth who I saw - not that frequently when she was little because we lived 100 miles apart - would remember the special things I did with her like let her have my sunglasses and put on "glip gloss". Jamie did too, although I've lived nearby since Jamie was three so she's used to having me nearby. I know I don't have to see Cosy everyday to be her Nana but I'm going to miss seeing her every day, just like I wish I could be with Oliver every day. Ollie knows me when he sees me and it doesn't take him long to remember the things we do... like blow raspberries and make car sounds.

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.

My niece Jamie in her last year of attending bible school. Next year she'll be a helper! She's on the second row, far right, in case you can't tell!

Pictures of Cosy in her first bikini:

Enjoy that figure while you can, baby girl... 

And I snagged this photo off Facebook today... it's "downtown" Cleveland, the main town square. I love that it shows how small and quaint and picturesque our little town is. 

I've been up since 1am. Just one of those nights where the pain wouldn't let me sleep and the cats didn't help much. I was hoping for an early bedtime and we're already at 9pm and fading fast. At any rate... Hang in there, folks. Life has been a bit of a bumpy ride and we still have the election to get through... I just keep reminding myself that God is still God. I'm gonna let Him take over some of the worrying for awhile.

We start our big renovation tomorrow... taking down the old shed and deck above it and replacing with a sturdy shed and a lovely covered porch above for my mom's "outdoor living room". It's going to be noisy and dusty but hopefully, it will come out looking better than ever. I hope we all will too. 
Love and hugs, y'all! 


Gerry said...

I felt your pain over the possibility of losing contact with a grand child due to a separation of the parents. When my oldest son's wife decided to move 130 miles away she divorced my son I feared the worst when it came to seeing my two grandchildren. And I am sorry to say that the worst did happen. I only saw these girls a handful of times again. I have not seen the oldest one for years, and only saw her oldest child, a son, once, but I had to be resigned to not seeing them. And my son did not see much of them either, even though he paid a large child support that was put through the court. My former daughter-in-law, however, was and still is a devoted mother and grandmother. She also left her own mother and dad behind when she moved, who were both alcoholics. Her oldest sister was her adviser during this move, and I had to conclude she just got burned out with dealing with drinking, because my oldest son was and still is an alcoholic, but this past year he moved to within 10 miles of his daughters! Got another good job as an estimater, he has always made good money in the construction business. I am praying he is going to cut back
on his drinking so he can be a better dad and granddad. His two daughters are overjoyed with his move. Their mother has also moved there. I am so relieved he is in a place where he might be motivated to quit drinking as my second son by an alcoholic dad did. My third son does not have a drinking problem either. So I am feeling some hopeful. I enjoyed reading your analysis of the situation with Cosette and I wanted to say I can sympathize with a concern over wanting to continue to be an active grandmother in this beautiful little child's life.

Anonymous said...

Aww.. my heart breaks for you, Heather. Nothing like having your grands with you and then not For no other reason then they can't make it together. But there was a reason she lived w/ you guys. Remember that. If they were married maybe they would try harder to stay together. To easy to walk away . Nor saying anything bad here... just a statement.
I get to see my grand children almost daily and sometimes the "mother" likes to make the decision to hit me where it hurts and will start something stupid. Then I don't see... and let me say it hurts.I hope she does the right thing. I'm sure they will be together again... they always do... who else is going to put up with them? LOL

have a good day!

monique said...

I hope you get to see her often. I know you miss having her around
big time.
This is sad.