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Family - Ties That Bind Us

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Family -  Ties That Bind Us
I am fortunate to have been born into a medium-sized, close-knit family. My early childhood was filled with love and joy. For seven years I was the only grandchild to two sets of doting grandparents and my great-grandmother. I wasn’t spoilt in a materialistic way but I knew I was wanted, always welcome everywhere and people had time for me. By seven or eight, I had been taught how to knit, how to sew on buttons and sew a line of neat, tiny stitches. I wasn’t allowed near the dangers of a hot, steamy kitchen but I could prick my fingers to death with a sharp needle – not too many times before I got the hang of it. I gave everyone’s coal fire a wide berth, too. It is basic, the security of a loving family. I hope I’ve provided the same for my children and grandchildren.
I would like to nurture the same close relationship with my grandchildren as I had with my grandparents and I hope I’m doing it right. I have been home-schooling my eldest grandson a couple of afternoons a week since lockdown rules eased enough for me to see him. Home-schooling sounds very grand, but he only started school last September, just getting into the swing of it, which he loves, then along came ‘the germs’ and shut down. We play games, do lots of painting, drawing, colouring – this includes chalk, wax crayon, pencils, felt tips and anything else I can lay my hands on. I’ve recently introduced him to ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and ‘Green Eggs and Ham’, excellent for practicing phonics. He’s quite happy doing number work, he doesn’t like writing much but we do a little bit. He enjoys being here, having me and Grandad all to himself with no distractions from his siblings. It helps my daughter out, as well. Families help each other, as it always was with our lot.
Now and again I dip into my family history. I’ve been doing my ‘tree’ for years. It can be hard work sometimes, going round in circles or literally barking up the wrong tree. So many generations with the same first name passed down. Children named after a dead older sibling. I’d never do that, but it was quite common in the mid-eighteen hundreds. People had lots of children, but so many of them died in infancy. Such losses in my ancestry have saddened me. My grandparents were made of strong stuff. They lost a child at three years old, before my mother was born. I was full of my own heartache when they lost another daughter, my mother. Our family clung to each other and tried to weather the storm.
It was hard when my mother died so young. It got harder still when my father remarried to the point of being impossible, but I had a close relationship with my maternal grandmother until she passed away, and my god-mother, who is my rock to this day.
I lost a lot of people over a period of about ten years. It is said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’ve made it, so far. I suppose I'm the matriarch of my family now, with hidden strength and non-judgemental advice when required.
Family -  Ties That Bind Us                                                                            My babes
My poem,  Family
There's cooking and cleaning and The sound of children at play. Infants having a squabble, It's an ordinary day.
The strength of our family Continues here, in our home, A warm hub of love and care Where everyone is welcome.
Everyone is important, All are equal in our throng. We look after each other, Fam'ly is where we belong.
Somewhere to share a problem, Always a listening ear And a few words of wisdom Help the worries disappear.
Family ties that bind us Are stronger than any twine. United in trust we stand, I'm proud this fam'ly is mine.
PMW 2020
Thanks for reading, stay safe, Pam x
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