“I’ll be the cowboy and you be the horse!” We had just finished those rootbeer floats we had every time we spent the night at Grandma’s house and we were in no hurry to wipe off our rootbeer float mustaches. It was a ritual. Drink the float, save the mustache, I’d be the cowboy and she’d be the horse. Following that we would go get ready for bed, finishing with getting in to Grandma’s vanilla lotion that smelled so good. Next, would be fighting over who’s turn it was to have the trundle bed before crawling in to watch Madeline. That was us. Me and her. My cousin and I.
My Dad’s brother married her mom when she was 5. From that moment on, she was my cousin, regardless of that fact that she wasn’t blood related, even though people say we look related. We were close. When she was 10, he divorced her mom, but she was still Cousin to us.
Eventually, we moved several states away, a two day drive separating us. We didn’t let that change anything. For a while, we shipped her out, by plane, for a two week visit, one to two times a year. We had lots of fun and midnight talks, talking about boys, and life in general. There was one year that she came as a Christmas gift. We were supposed to go to Grandma’s house to open our traditional stockings. When we arrived there we saw a big, huge box, all wrapped in pretty paper. We were instructed to open the box from the bottom up. Nobody knew what was inside. Was it a trampoline? What could be so big? As we neared closer to the top, out she popped! It had been several years since we had seen her, so we had a hard time figuring out who this “woman” was in out grandparents living room was. Once we knew, it was quickly decided that that was the best Christmas gift ever. We always looked forward to having her out, though they always ended in tears, hugs and painful goodbyes in the airport.
When she wasn’t with us, things didn’t always go so well for her and I. I loved to talk about God, she thought that that “God stuff” wasn’t for her. There were times when we would get into huge arguments, ending in her not talking to me for an entire year at times. Yet, I never stopped loving her, never stopped praying for her to come to know the God I knew. We went through this cycle for many years. When I was little I had even prayed my parents would adopt her, that my parents could be the parents she needed.
This year, everything changed.
She came to us on a semi truck. Her boyfriend, the driver, and her got in a fight and she had nowhere to go. The day she called us seemed like one of the best days of my life. My prayers had been answered. She would finally be living around the better influences of the people who loved her. However, given her history, we didn’t figure she would stay longer than two months at the most. She has been here a year now. The fact that she was living here, didn’t change the fact that I continued to pray for her. The rest of our family has given up on her. We’re the only ones left, sticking to our promises of always being here for her, and always loving her.
It has been amazing watching her grow and change. The last few months she has been asking consistently to attend church with us. She has been more interested in the things of God. Her life has changed drastically. It’s so neat watching her draw closer to God, and in the mean time, she and I are growing closer. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what wonderful plans God has for her.
You can read my Mom’s blog post about her here.