Cousins. Your first friends. Your built-in friends for life. This magical experience of “cousins” is already happening with Jackson and cousins, Layla and Olivia. Or, I should say “Yaya and Yivie”.
My grandma “Maw” passed away on Valentine’s Day and we all gathered for her funeral service. It was one of the toughest few days of my life, but one thing that brought me joy was watching Jackson with his cousins.
They laughed, ran around, played in the fountain at the funeral home, played on the playground at the church, jumped off of things (in spite of our protest), hugged each other and took care of each other during a difficult time.
Layla, 9, is the oldest and was a top-notch baby sitter-in-training. She made sure the two littles didn’t get into anything that could hurt them or that they could break (especially in the funeral home). Layla would pick Jackson up and carry him places. Jackson loves it and almost begs her to pick him up. Layla and Jackson have their own special bond. I know he is only 3 but I really believe that Jackson looks up to her and feels a sense of comfort when he sees her. After all, Layla was there to give him a big hug when his dad was in the hospital a year ago. When we drive up places and he knows she will be there he yells “YAYA!”
Now, before I tell this next part, I mean it in the very best way. Livie, 4, is one of the most adorable humans on this planet. In my eyes, she can really do no wrong. With that said, Livie “bosses” Jackson, our 3-year-old around. I say “bosses” in the cutest, sweetest, way that one can be bossed around. She will say, “Jackson, come on” or “Jackson, stay in here” and he just follows her wherever she goes!
In fact, all I have to do is say “Livie, make Jackson stay in here” (he’s always on the move) and she tells him to stay in the room and he does! MAGIC! I mean he’s a boy; he’s going to be bossed around by a female one day, so why not start early and with one of his favorite people?
Layla helped ‘Uncle’ Frank (my husband) when he was in charge of all the kids during the funeral services and it was adorable. Those few days I would find myself sitting in a room with them, feeling sadness and looking at them play together and thinking “Boy, my grandma sure did love this/them” and then joy came over me. Watching them play together is heartwarming, sweet and gives me a feeling of optimism for their future.
I can see it now; the three of them being friends for life and being there for one another through the joys and sorrows. I see them rallying for each other during triumphs and supporting one another through the tough times they will face.
I see them having fun together on family vacations. I can see them standing up for one another and saying, “Hey, that’s my cousin, you better watch it!” I see them at each other’s high school and college graduations. I can imagine them calling each other and saying, “I got the job!”
I am hopeful the girls will call Jackson and Jackson will call the girls when they need help or have advice, or just want to talk.
I can imagine them calling each other when they experience their first breakup, because we all know too well, it’s bound to happen. I am hopeful they will lean on each other and be there for each other when they lose someone they love, whatever their age may be.
My mother is 67 and her cousins, Patty Lynn and Denise, were literally there with her at the hospital at 10 o’clock at night to support her when my grandma took her last breath. That’s the kind of love and support I want for Jackson, Layla and Olivia. I hope they have the type of relationship that welcomes all emotions; happiness, sadness, anger, joy, bitterness; they are the emotions of life itself.
I can imagine Livie, still “bossing” Jackson around when he is older, when he needs a push. I can see them being there for Jackson when he has questions about girls,which he will.
I can imagine the girls calling Jackson and asking, “Why don’t men listen?” or, “Do you think he will like this gift?” (Hopefully he is listening). I can see Jackson being there for the girls on their wedding days, telling them, “You look stunning!” and/or “I have a car out back if you need it.”
I can see the girls with Jackson on his wedding day making sure his vows are perfect and saying “You sure clean up nice, cousin!” while straightening his tie.
I am hopeful that when they start their families they will be there for each other during the 2 AM feedings, the long nights, the first sniffles and ‘boo boos’, the first projectile ‘whatever’, first words, first steps…. I imagine them taking trips to visit each other so their children can play and start a new cycle of life and friendship.
And I hope that Jackson, Layla and Olivia always remember how they started, the love they have for one another and I hope that love and affection carries them through the rest of their lives and what this life brings them. That is my hope and prayer for them.
For now, I will just enjoy watching them grow.