The cupboard of dreams.

High on the top shelf in the linen cupboard are new beginnings for the three children and the two grandchildren we raised – school books to be precise. Started some 40 years ago.

They languish there in all their glory, hopes and dreams of a new school year, new friends and what was to come. Childish writing contained within those pages, memories of another time.

As one glances up at that ever growing pile, they are testament to their age, at the very bottom, these are covered in brown paper, as we move up the pile, we find wallpaper covered books, then colourful wrapping paper. The dog end corners tell me that they were not durable. Then came the latest thing: sticky plastic coated book covering, in the grand children’s era.

Now I ask, why does one have to cover books in the hottest month of the year? There is no room for errors with this sticky stuff either. Armed with scissors, ruler and windows wide open, the task begins. With determination etched in one’s brow, I begin. Why is it when you start these tasks the children need something?

Beads of perspiration drip down by face as I cut, place, stick and press. Who knew 2 girls needed so many books? First book goes perfectly. The same cannot be said for the rest. As the task moves on and the day heats up, the pile that needed covering is shrinking to a manageable lot – well sort of. The final ones are beginning to resembled my poor old face, covered in wrinkles and no matter how hard I run that ruler over that plastic covering, I could not get them out.

I apologised to the youngest one who had the misfortune of having hers done last. “Don’t worry Nan’, she said, “when I am bored in class, I try to press them all out” Oh and I thought they went to school to learn!

One day, I shall climb high into that cupboard and bring them down, split them up for each child and hand back their thoughts and new beginnings, after all they are theirs. And when the grand girl’s reach Intermediate, I shall celebrate a new beginning for me. No more covering of school books, wahoo.

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Diane Vivian is the founding member and chair of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ. When in 1997, Diane Vivian took over the care of her small, traumatised grandchildren, she could not believe the stress she encountered. Setting about to discover what help or support was available in 1999, she found there was none! The organisation formed to meet this need salutes all Grandparents/kin who have taken in Grand/kin children and put the needs of those precious ones before their own.

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