One of the first things my newly pregnant daughter asked me was “Mom, can you come and help us with the new baby?” “Certainly”, I happily replied. What mother could resist an offer like this.
Our first grandson was due August 9; so it was planned that my husband and I would drive to Chicago a day after he was born and my return airline reservation was booked for August 31. Lev Henry surprised us with an early arrival around 10 PM on July 30. It took a day or two to pack our bags and then drive to Chicago. We arrived on Saturday afternoon, August 3.
What a pleasure to hold our newborn baby grandson. My daughter and son-in-law were thrilled but exhausted. An unexpected caesarian section complicated matters. They seemed relieved at our arrival. My husband and I got busy buying groceries, preparing meals and catching up on laundry. After four days, my husband left to attend to other family matters and I was alone with the new family.
The first week flew by as we all tried to get used to this 7 pound-13 ounce responsibility. I acted as cheerleader for my daughter’s nursing efforts and the 5 AM relief for my son-in-law’s night watch. We were a team and we all knew it. Our main goal was to keep Lev fed, dry and in clean clothes. There were systems to be implemented for this baby. Even the chore of a baby bath meant the towels, soap, cotton balls and water basins had to be gathered up and placed in a convenient area; not to mention the diaper changing table where tiny pampers were stacked and wipes were nearby. Even with all this organization, Lev managed to pee on all of us during diaper changes.
By week two we were all feeling more assured but extremely tired. We tried out the new stroller to take Lev for a walk. Although it was state-of-the-art equipment, we still had to learn how to assemble it and strap him in.
For four consecutive Tuesdays, I bought a fancy cupcake at the Swedish-American bakery on Clark Street so that we could sing “Happy Birthday” to Lev. He was only four weeks old and had been sung to four times! I’m sure there’s no longer a celebration as he marks another week of living. But it was a welcome treat for all of us during this first month.
I awakened every morning at 5 AM. Most days Lev had just concluded nursing, so I could rock him to sleep while Momma and Dad got some much needed sleep. Lev and I experienced many sunrises together.
The four weeks hurried by and soon it was time to say goodbye. Lev has a two foot tall band of chalkboard paint surrounding the perimeter of his room. His mother invited me to sign the board. After careful consideration I wrote “Thank you Lev for 28 days of August, 2013. Love, Mimi”.
The last morning arrived and as usual I was up at 5 AM. Bags were packed, the laundry was caught up and the fridge was neat and clean. I knew I could leave in good conscience. But that morning after I rocked Lev to sleep, I couldn’t let go of him and put him in his crib. Not today with his sweet baby smell and so soft baby skin all warm and cozy. I sat for three hours rocking and cradling him as I knew that a 67 year old woman would never have this opportunity again!
Recently I told a tennis friend about this special three hour rock-a-thon. She said not to worry because now Lev would never forget me as he’ll always remember my heart beat. I’m not certain this is true, but I like to think that it is. One thing I know for sure, I’ll always remember the special time we spent together during the “magical month” of August, 2013!