Monday, 20 January 2020

Poetry Monday: Connections

It's Poetry Monday, and the topic this week is ..... CONNECTIONS.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi, Merry Mae and me as we connect the dots on this topic. If you'd like, you can leave your poem in the comments here, or you can post on your own blog. If you do the latter, please leave a comment here so we can find your contribution. Use the topic, or choose another -- the aim is to have fun and stretch our brains a little bit.

*****

You might say I have a few family connections. My father was one of eleven siblings and my mother was one of five. All fourteen of my aunts and uncles married at least once and had at least one child, although often they had more -- many had four or five and one had nine.

This means I grew up having a lot of first cousins -- sixty-one in all. I didn't know all of them -- a small number died as infants or children, while some lived so far away I never got to meet them. Others lived nearby or visited from far away every summer and I got to know them quite well.

My children, on the other hand, have only eight first cousins in total.

I've always felt like there are many connections between me and the rest of the world, even though sixty-one first cousins is not many people if you're looking at the world's population. But it was enough to make me feel like there were tendrils of my gene pool that extended into the world at large, far beyond my village.

It makes me feel a bit badly for my kids. Of course, it may be true that you don't miss what you don't have, and they may feel eight cousins is plenty.

Where am I going with all of this and why have I made your brain cells short out and your eyes roll back in your head with all those figures?

Well, I have a poem to write, and wanted to provide some background, of course :)


*****

We've Done Our Bit And It's Too Late To Produce More

My aunties and my uncles
Had lots of baby bundles

They gave me many cousins
I have cousins by the dozens

And though they're all terrific
We've all been less prolific

Our kids have less selection
Re family connections

I feel a wee bit wistful
They haven't cousins by the fistful

But it's really not that strange
Times - and people - always change




A small portion of my family reunion

*****

Wishing you a week of rewarding connections, whether they're family or not.

Next week's topic is ....... DUTY .....

Good luck!



  

55 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

I grew up knowing only the immediate family. No other relatives. At the time it was fine, but later I do mourn that I never knew grandparents, aunts, cousins...
While I am childless, the current generation will have relatives in plenty. Which I like.
I love your poem too.

dinthebeast said...

I only have three cousins, Mike, Rick, and Dick, and since they lived in Oklahoma and I lived in California, I only saw them three times (on family visits, a week at a time, though the first visit was before I turned two years old).
Rick and I are close to the same age, and we got along well. Last I heard, all three of them were chemical engineers and had moved to Houston to work in the oil industry.
I'm old enough that I used to call the kid I bought my weed from my "connection", but I think that term has fallen out of favor.
Mostly, to me, connections are what are made with electrical connectors, although personal connections are very important also.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Cherie said...

Good morning Jenny. What seems like a large family these days is probably only a tiny one compared with families in the past with 12 or more children being the norm. I have cousins that I have never met and others that I haven't seen since we were all children. I don't honestly think I am missing out. x

River said...

61 first cousins! Wow. I have only two and don't know either of them. One left home at 16 and was never seen again and I don't know anything about the other one except we were born in the same year. I'm told he was alcoholic like his father, so may very well be gone by now.
My own children have 14 first cousins, although two of them have died, but still better than my generation. The following generation is much reduced though. Nobody wants big families anymore, it's just too expensive with education etc.

Andrew said...

I have three first cousins who I don't know well and never see. But that is ok. My family is quite big enough.

crafty cat corner said...

Love the motley collection of moggies, lol
Briony
x

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Well written poem, and another take on connexions.

nothoughtsnoprayersnonothing said...

A mixed blessing. I don't know which is worse having many or having none. I only have experience with the latter.

Sharon M said...

Wow, that's quite a family. If I counted right, I have 17 first cousins (plus one I just found out about on Ancestry.com). Growing up, I saw most of them all the time. I went to school with some of them. In contrast, my kids only have six first cousins, three of which they rarely ever see. The other three they see pretty much only on holidays.

37paddington said...

We not only share a birthday, we share the story of many first cousins, both of us the children of parents with 11 and 5 siblings respectively. My cousins and I grew up quite close as we were mostly together in a small island, and now we simply call each others children our nieces and nephews, and our children know these children of my own first cousins, simply as their cousins. We dont fuss with the proper labels. The feeling defines it, with the result that my kids, too, have lots of "cousins" and are meeting more all the time.

The Blog Fodder said...

Week late but i pasted a poem in last week's blog

Bonnie said...

I enjoyed hearing about your family and all the cousins. I understand your situation as my father's mother gave birth to 14 children although only 12 lived to adulthood. I honestly do not know haw many cousins I have on his side of the family! However my mother was one of only three children and they each had three so I have six first cousins on my mother's side and know them all.

I had a DNA test run on 23 and Me and it is really amazing to see how many "beyond first cousins" you have!

I enjoyed your poem - well written!

Marie Smith said...

The generations have produced less and less offspring it seems. Our one child has one first cousin. She had three children so they wouldn’t be alone like she is.

e said...

Thank God for birth control and central heating...

messymimi said...

Times change, and so do family sizes. Maybe future generations will choose to bring second and third cousins into the mix to keep the family connections alive.

Red said...

you give some reason for thought in his poem. Is something going to b missing down the line?

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

My parents had many more cousins than I had and I had more cousins than my own children have. Family is very important, but today families move around more and distance plays a part in the closeness that once was. However, we do have Skype and FaceTime and a means to stay in each other’s lives.

Chickens Consigliere said...

Such a cute poem. As you are probably aware, I have a rather spread out family myself and many relatives. Enough that I sometimes have to stop and think..am I that one's aunt or that one's cousin or great cousin perhaps? It's nice.

jenny_o said...

It's good that the current generation will have lots of family connections. I think we all become more aware of these things as we get older, which might explain your change in outlook. I wasn't much interested until I passed age 40.

jenny_o said...

Electrical connections was the first angle I thought of as well, but I am so very unqualified to write a poem about those :)

Rick and Dick are both possible short forms for Richard - were those their actual names or nicknames, and if they were nicknames, what were their real names (if you know)? I am curious!

jenny_o said...

Yes, in general family sizes have really shrunk in the western world.

jenny_o said...

You said it. Childcare, too, because often both parents work.

jenny_o said...

Everyone will have different degrees of interest (or lack of it) in extended family members, I think.

jenny_o said...

It's quite a crowd, isn't it?!

jenny_o said...

I'm anxious to read what the rest of you wrote - just got in from a long day and will head over to your blog shortly!

jenny_o said...

I think we get used to whatever we are handed, perhaps?

jenny_o said...

Yes, similar situation here. It depends on how much the sibling parents get together as to whether the cousins get to spend time together.

jenny_o said...

Ah, another lovely coincidence! How lucky you were to know all of your cousins so well, and now have your kids benefit from all those invisible ribbons connecting your hearts too.

jenny_o said...

Thanks, TBF!

jenny_o said...

It gets hard to keep track when there are so many. I am very lucky to have a family history that one of my uncles had drawn up by someone who knew what they were doing. I'm sure I would have missed a few if I was relying on memory.

The DNA tests seem to be getting more and more popular - which is good - I believe I've read that the more done, the better the information becomes for everyone.

jenny_o said...

Many couples are choosing to have only one child these days, no matter how many siblings they have themselves; it's interesting how your "only" decided to go the other direction with her family!

jenny_o said...

Amen to that, e - and indoor plumbing :D

jenny_o said...

For so long there was no reliable way to control family size; that was a major change. You've made an excellent suggestion for future families.

jenny_o said...

But I wonder if they'll miss what they never had? Maybe only when they get older. Or maybe never.

jenny_o said...

Yes, thank goodness for technology in this case! You're so right about distance being a factor.

jenny_o said...

Yes, it gets tricky explaining the connections - the terms are confusing sometimes when you get into second and third and once removed :)

I like having a large extended family, too, but I wonder if that's simply because it's what I know - how I grew up.

dinthebeast said...

Rick might have been, as my dad's name was Richard, and they did borrow names back and forth (my uncle's name was Gene Ray, and my brother was Ronald Gene and I am Douglas Ray) but Dick's name actually is Dick.
Remember, this was Oklahoma we're talking about, my dad was Richard Floyd and my mom was Peggy Jane...

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Diane Henders said...

I like your poem! My mom's family was large: 12 siblings in her mother's family, and Mom had 5 siblings. I have happy memories of huge family gatherings as a kid. I miss those days - there was a warm sense of belonging that you just don't get anywhere else.

LL Cool Joe said...

My daughters have 8 cousins, and I think that's enough, especially when it's me that has to buy cards and presents for them all every year on Birthdays and Christmas, and now they have partners the list is growing!

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Wow, Jenny, this is great! I always love your poetry!
Husby and I did our best. My Dad was one of 11. Mom, one of 9. Both Husby and I had 5 siblings. And together, we produced 6. Now we have 21 grandkids. Man, the connections! But Facebook helps. And we’ve recently started a WhatsApp page that is hugely entertaining and connecting. Here’s to the future!

Martha said...

I have a lot of first cousins, most of which I never see. Although a few are connected with me on Facebook. My parents came to Canada in the late 50s and left behind a lot of family. Soooo...distance has made it hard to really get to know all those people.

jenny_o said...

Yes! Exactly. Somebody needs to organize our reunions! Oh oh . . . if it hasn't happened already, it's probably our turn . . .

jenny_o said...

Hah! You make a great point :)

jenny_o said...

Yes, you have to work at maintaining the connections, right? :) They don't just happen!

jenny_o said...

That's understandable - distance is a real issue unless one is a millionaire :)

e said...

They could stay warm and get cozy without another mouth to feed at the end of it...

Diane Henders said...

LOL! Yep, 'fraid so...

baili said...

wow sixty one is quite impressive dear Jenny :)

i think your joy is comprehensible as it reminds me words from my father who used to say (when he moved in village with mom and found that her cousins having fifteen and thirteen children lol) that

"they who feel free to produce more and more children think they will occupy the more part of planet "

i remember when my mom would say to any of her cousin why do you not satisfy on two or three kids
they would laugh and say it is bad to stop what God is giving and all they need we have already so why worry about their living

i feel lucky to have more than 30 cousins and i have spent my childhood meeting them and playing with them often
i still meet who live in the village or villages near by to my native town
yes it is a strange inevitable joy to have big family :)))
unfortunately my husband never wanted to have more kids but few (tough job though still secretly i wanted big family of my own)
much love and hugs!

Susan said...

I think it is about belonging. I have nine cousins and we remain close even though I now live across the pond from all of them. I feel fortunate we are such a tight group. My own children don't have that experience and their children will not either. They seem to have the gift of making life long friends so perhaps there are other ways of creating a pack.

jenny_o said...

I don't know if this is the same for all people who have a lot of cousins, but I just always felt more like I belonged to other people - that we had a connection that would rise above our interests, our beliefs, and so on. Friends can change or move away and we may let them go and move on, but family remains family. I know I'm not expressing exactly what I want to, and it's frustrating, but that's as close as I can get to explaining. And it seems you know what I'm trying to say anyway!

jenny_o said...

Yes, the belonging! That was what I tried to explain in my post, and then again in my reply to baili (directly above). I'm having a hard time saying exactly how it makes me feel, but belonging is probably the closest word I have too.

Your children are fortunate to have the gift of making good friends! Isn't there a saying that "friends are the family you choose for yourself" or something like that? :)

Mr. Shife said...

I think your poem was swell, jenny_o. One of my favorites. I could even say the best work you have done this year, this decade. =) Have a great weekend.

jenny_o said...

LOL Mr. S - I guess I can retire now and fade into obscurity! Thanks, though :) Have a great weekend yourself.

baili said...

i can understand because i can relate it
i did not want to get married ,but when after marriage i had first baby ,my longing for big family grew ,i wanted my house full with kids :)
may be it was because i had only one sister and one brother who unfortunately are mostly away and not in touch

jenny_o said...

:)