I’m the oldest child in my family. I got married young and we had our three children pretty much straight away, so my kids didn’t have any cousins until they were well into primary school. The cousins get on well even though they are always living life in different seasons to each other – or maybe because of that!
When my kids moved into the “get married and have kids” season of life there was much excitement and anticipation amongst the younger cousins. There were weddings to attend and flower girl dresses to be worn, and when our eldest daughter told the family she was expecting a baby there was great excitement among the primary aged and early teenaged cousins!
Friends of mine have a son who decided he was going to join the army with his best mate when he grows up. At first it seemed to be the standard sort of fascination that you see in kids - I’m going to be a fireman, a doctor; I’m going to rescue sick animals and be a vet; I’m going to be whatever the hero of the moment is!
But a year on the boy wasn’t showing any sign of losing interest.
My friends knew that because their son is deaf he would never be able to enlist or serve in the army and it started to feel very uncomfortable joining in conversations with the boy about what he might do one day knowing very well that this particular dream would always remain just that – a dream.
On one of the first warm spring days last year a group of us were enjoying lunch on the lawn at a friend’s home. I sat chatting with another guest – a man well into his 80s on holiday in Perth with his wife.
The man had been telling me about an airplane he had built and he was fishing around in his wallet for a photograph of the plane. He came across another photo before he found the one of the airplane that he was actually looking for. He passed the accidently discovered photo over to me saying
When I was a little girl, about four years old, I had to go into hospital to have my adenoids removed.
Now I was four years old quite a long time ago! Back in the days before parents were allowed to spend uncomfortable nights in armchairs by their children’s hospital beds. Back in the times before day surgery; when even relatively minor procedures meant a week or more in hospital.
My dad took me to the hospital and I can still summon up the horrifying image of his back as he walked away from me down what seemed to be an impossibly long ward. I can still hear my own wail as I leapt out of my hospital bed and raced after him.