Sunday, February 27, 2011

In Their Footsteps

Like my mother before me and my grandmother before her and I don't know how many generation before that, I go to my daughters homes after they have their babies, to take care of them, their new little one, and their other children. When I was a first time mother I made the silly assumption that every ones mother or mother-in-law came to stay with them after they had a baby. My grandma Cope had always come to our house when there was a new baby and my mother, even after she was diagnosed with cancer came to help with babies as long as her health would allow. From my grandma Cope and my mom I learn to care for a new born, how to burp, bathe, swaddle, feed, change and put to sleep and I have tried to pass these things on to my daughters.
My grandma Cope was a true expert at babies and I feel very blessed to have had her in my life. Grandma could burp any baby, calm the fussiest and colickiest baby, and get any baby to relax, eat and then to sleep. She was born in 1898 and the story is she started helping deliver babies around the age of 13. She had 7 children of her own and sometime after my dad, her youngest, was off to school, she became a nurse in the neonatal department, working with hard to handle preemies. I remember when my mom was teaching me to bathe and burp babies, the instruction always began with, "this is how grandma Cope does it".
My mother had 6 children and 31 grandchildren; 29 of those grandchildrens were mostly taken care of their first week by her. As I helped Kassey with little Augustus this last week I couldn't help but think of my mom, partly in gratitude and partly in irritation. In gratitude, because my kids were old enough and have fond memories of her coming to our home each time a new baby was born; in irritation, because I am expected to be at their homes when they have new babies to help the same way she did. Don't get me wrong, I love being with my grandbabies and holding and loving on the new little ones, but my mother had the energy of 10 women. After our 3rd baby was born, I had a friend ask if my mother hired out, she could have made a bundle.

When our first grandbaby was born I lucked out because our daughter and her husband were living with us. Still my daughter reminded me of what my mom had done for me and let me know I was expected to do the same. I guess you could say the care of a new born and mother is sort of a tradition in our family. I know that my older sister does the same as my mother did and I am sure my baby sister will also, once she starts to have grandbabies.
My mother-in-law was asked what is was that I did to help with the newborns, my mother-in-law answered, "everything!". This was very sweet of her to say and if it had been said about my mom I would agree, but I don't have the energy of 10 women, like my mom. My mom would arrive the night before I came home from the hospital and stay for about a week. The new babies always slept in the room with her and she would bring them in when they woke to eat, with their diapers changed. After they were fed, she would come and get them, burp them, change them again if needed and stay up with them till they were back to sleep. Along with that, it wasn't uncommon for her to get up with our older kids, feed them a warm breakfast, make sure Kim ate before he left for school or work. She took care of the house cleaning, laundry or whatever needed to be done. I actually did very little the first week of my newborns life; she would tell me my job was to rest. She made sure I followed whatever instructions the doc had sent home. She shared all the things her mother-in-law, my grandma Cope, had shared and taught her. I have tried to teach my daughters these same things, but I fall short when it comes to all the little extras.
I am grateful for the privilege my daughters have given me to help them bring their new little ones into the family. Even more I am grateful for all my mom and grandma's example.


Mackenzie said...

How sweet! I always expect my mom to come help me too, what would we do without our moms?

Baxter's said...

I'm just bummed my new little one didn't get a little mama p love...but now I were pretty busy. :-) My mom has been a ton of help this past bit and keeps telling me to rest(she was not a fan of me making a snow fort with the kids)...but I know the veil is thin as these new little babes are transitioned into this crazy world. I'm sure your Grandma looks down on you as proud as can be...and then says..."after that week I went home and slept for a week straight." :-)

Mackenzie said...

How sweet! I love this post. What an amazing mom & grandma you had :) even though it's tough to live up to at least you're remembering them by trying!