When Alex was born we lived in the same town as John's parents, his sister and his sister’s family. These were the first people to meet Alex and the first to accept her without hesitation into our family. It was a lesson for us in the power of family.
We lived in the area until Alex was 13 and spent lots of time with our family. The bonds our small children developed with these relatives will never be severed. The only regret I have in our move here was leaving my in-laws. We visit a few times a year - but it can never be the same as getting in the car and going to their house. We miss them very much.
Alex has a great relationship with these relatives who have supported and loved her since she was born. She talks about her grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins all the time. Three of her cousins have since married and have babies, and she loves it. She is the best first cousin-once-removed I know. We do get to see these cousins in CO a few times a year – and we can’t wait for them to come. We mark our calendars and count down the days.
There is one person that Alex really connected with from birth - Grandpa. John's father is one of the kindest, most sincere people I know. He is bright, funny, charming and sensitive, one of those people that others love to be with. My father-in-law has always been considerate and gracious to me, and not all daughter-in-laws can say that. I am thankful I married into such a geat family.
I noticed this connection very early on in Alex’s life; she gravitated towards Grandpa and he to her. There was a twinkle in his eye when she was with him, an unconditional love she felt from him. He could joke with her, but not put up with it if she was rude. Grandpa loves to play cards, and Alex loves to change the game rules so she wins. Grandpa cooperated and lost many a card game. But with that twinkle in his eye - he let the rest of us know he was a bit confused on the new instructions. She misses him very much, and I know he misses her.
My father-in-law, John's father and my children's grandfather is very ill. John is going to Chicago tomorrow and we wait here helpless to do anything. The kids know that grandpa will probably not get better and we have much sorrow in our house. Alex cries when she hears his name and I cry as I write this.
The next days, weeks and months are going to be tough. Once again I know I am in uncharted territories. There is so much I can figure out about Alex - and so much I can not. Grief is one of those emotions that rock us to the core - and this is true with Alex. I just am not sure if her core is deeper than mine and I know how to manage it. I will try.