Longer ago than I care to think, the final one of our five grandchildren made her entrance into the family. She joined an older sister and brother, and two cousins, both girls. Because the five of them live close to each other in the same town, they’ve spent a lot of time together and have grown quite close.
Ranging in age from seventeen to eleven, Ainsley, David, Alana, Naomi, and Abbey were the subjects of a book I published some years ago, a collection of poetry for and about them. Titled Five Cousins, the book spun tales of their adventures at the various stages of life they had by then attained.
Each of them received a copy from me one long-ago Christmas—signed, of course, with a suitable inscription. At the time, the younger ones enjoyed having the poems read to them more than reading them themselves, but either way, their peals of laughter warmed the author’s heart.
Each of them had a section of the book, titled with their name, containing half-a-dozen or so poems with such titles as: Ainsley Starting School; It’s David’s Day; Alana’s in Florida; Oh, Naomi, You’re the One; and Little Abbey’s Walking Now.
Over the years, these five cousins have seen a good deal of us, their Nana and Grandpa, often at our retirement home in Florida. In one of life’s everlasting mysteries, they have grown older by leaps and bounds each year, while we elders have hardly aged at all!
[pause for muffled snickers of disbelief from amused grandchildren]
Regardless, it is a fact that three of them are now taller than we are; the eldest is off to university this fall; the second one will join her next year; the next two are halfway through high school; the youngest will soon enter junior high; and every one of them eats gobs more than we do!
As they have grown, their lives have gravitated less toward us and more to their friends; their interests have shifted away from us to their myriad interests and activities; the time we spend with them now is less than it used to be. They face their futures now, rather than focusing back on what has been.
Happily for us, they visited us in Florida this year—perhaps for the last time all together, as their lives will increasingly take them along paths diverging from ours.
That is natural, of course, and as it should be. But their inexorable journey to their own destiny has me thinking I must write another collection of poems about them, and for them, before they leave the sanctuary of childhood for the last time.
I could do it for each of them separately, beginning with the eldest, and follow up for each succeeding one as they reach the age she is now. Or I could do it as I did the first time, with poems about all of them, suitable to the stage each finds her- or himself at right now.
I think I favour the second option, given my own age. Time, I increasingly find, is not to be taken for granted.
Anyway, here are five short pieces I have already written about them, collectively rather than individually, in haiku form. The poems attempt to express my love for these five cousins, my hopes for them, and my unabashed pride in them.
on the refrigerator—
* * * * * * *
grandchildren, our hope
for the future—as we were
once upon a time
* * * * * * *
free your grandchildren,
hug them close, then let them go—
they’ll e’er be with you
* * * * * * *
more yesterdays now
than tomorrows, but it’s the
tomorrows that count
Five Cousins e-book – http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/precept