Friday, June 9, 2017

What Is Supposed to Happen by Naomi Shihab Nye

Yesterday was my older granddaughter's last day of preschool. She spent three years at that wonderful place...with many of the same children who have become her "best friends." After school, my husband and I took her to a nearby park/playground where she and her classmates had an end-of-the-year picnic. The kids all had a grand time playing with each other.

My husband and I finally got to meet many of the children she has been telling us about. It was great watching her having fun and running  around with her friends--some of whom will be going to the same school for kindergarten. I know she'll miss the others who will be attending different schools in the area.

As I watched my granddaughter chatting and playing with her classmates, it brought to mind a favorite poem written by Naomi Shihab Nye: What Is Supposed to Happen. It's a poem that I included in a memory book that I put together for my daughter as a high school graduation gift.

My little "grandgirls" are growing up--and I'm left with the same mixed emotions that I had as I watched my own daughter mature, widen her world outside of family, go off to kindergarten and then college.

by Naomi Shihab Nye

When you were small,
we watched you sleeping,
waves of breath
filling your chest.
Sometimes we hid behind
the wall of baby, soft cradle
of baby needs.
I loved carrying you between
my own body and the world.

Now you are sharpening pencils,
entering the forest
of lunch boxes, little desks.
People I never saw before
call out your name
and you wave.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

My younger granddaughter came to the picnic too.

Mary Lee Hahn has the Poetry Friday Roundup at A Year of Reading.



Mary Lee said...

The perfect poem for the bittersweet moments as the grandgirls grow up!

author amok said...

Oh, Elaine. This poem brought tears to my eyes. We've had a roller coaster year as our kids transition between upper teens and adulthood. Those pre-K graduations were so precious.

jama said...

Yes, so bittersweet to see the little ones growing up so fast. I still remember when Julia was first born and now look at her! It's wonderful that you were able to move next door and be such a big part of their lives. Nye's poem is so poignant and perfectly expresses the feelings so many parents and grandparents are experiencing this time of year. My niece Julia just graduated from high school. It doesn't seem possible somehow.

Molly Hogan said...

I love Naomi Shihab Nye and this poem is new to me. It captures perfectly that feeling of loss as our children (grandchildren) move out into the world. Yet this is how it's "supposed to happen". How wonderful that you were able to celebrate this day with your granddaughter!

Linda B said...

I love this, Elaine, a new one to me, so thank you very much. And I love hearing about your own grand-girls and their growing up. Mine are 8 and nearly 6, and my grandson will be 16 this summer. Wow, nothing to do but celebrate the years we've been with them.

Ruth said...

Boy, can I ever relate to this one!

Diane Mayr said...

People I never saw before
call out your name
and you wave.

And the child goes on to create her own history, some/most of which won't include mother. So hard a concept to accept. Thanks for sharing today's poem!

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

I read it to my 8 year old daughter, and she purred and said "Awww, such a nice poem." I agree. I wonder if my mother’s eyes already look
ancient. :-)

Kay said...

Such a lovely poem to mark the passage of time--old stages ending and new ones beginning.

Ymatruz said...

Short and sweet poem [from the voice of a loving mother]. I love these lines:

People I never saw before
call out your name
and you wave.