My granddaughter who had been living with me this past year is visiting with her Aunt and Uncle this summer, 300 miles away. If all goes well, she will be staying with them while starting second grade.
My long, hard-fought struggle to win permanent guardianship of my 7 year old granddaughter was finally won. Which means I must decide what is in her best interest: To continue living here with me and her grandfather in virtual Covid-isolation. Or to allow her to live with younger, more active caretakers who love her dearly and can provide a far better life for her than we can.
I chose the latter, of course, but not without anguish. I miss her dearly, despite the daily face chats, photos, and reports of her adjustment. She loves her new “awesome” bedroom with the pink walls and loft-bed where she and her new dog Sasha can hide-away beneath and play. She has a “real” sidewalk to ride her scooter now, not a long steep driveway that leads to a narrow road. The beach is only minutes away, and already she’s surfing, and standing(!) with Uncle’s help. She’s in a musical theater day camp where she plays one of the lost boys in Peter Pan. She has two active caretakers to play with her and put her to bed and teach her new things every day. They are the kindest, most loving couple I know, and they are so excited to have her there, filling their home with love and laughter.
My arms are empty and I ache for her. I know despite all the good that has come and is coming her way that it’s not easy to adjust to so many new changes. But she’s strong and resilient and wise beyond her years. Before we ever contemplated this move, she was reading a book about a girl who was anxious about a new move, going to a new school and making new friends. She said, “Grandma, I don’t get it, why kids are always so scared of change? It’s just a new school! She’ll make new friends! It’s nothing to get so dramatic about!”
She knows this from experience. She’s had so many changes in her young life and she’s learned to take it all in stride and make the most of it.
I know this is the best possible outcome, and I’m thrilled for her, and for my daughter and son-in-law. She knows that I will be visiting often, and she’ll be coming here to spend holidays and summer vacation. This will always be her home too.
It’s what her parents said they wanted for her also. Years ago they chose this Aunt and Uncle to care for their daughter should something happen to them. They trusted them then, as I do now.
Still, it’s not easy letting go. My house feels so empty without her. My arms crave her warm body. But my heart is full. She’s safe, she’s happy, her future is secure. She’s is cherished, and so very, very loved. God is good.