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How Lack of Community Kills Us Since the Day We Were Born

My daughter delivered our first grand baby last week. Little Francesca arrived healthy, cute, and really BIG – a nine pounder (poor mom). Mom is recovering well. Dad and Mom are so very proud. Grandparents are really excited.

Fast forward a week and things have changed. The little princess is really active and awake and demanding at early morning hours. She likes being chill and sleepy at 3 in the afternoon. She’s unpredictable one day following a friendly pattern.  The next day breaking all the rules going ballistic for no apparent reason. She’s keeping Mom and Dad on their toes.

Ouch? It brings back memories and not good ones.

Our oldest arrived the same way – a few ounces smaller – still really big. We jumped through hoops week one dealing with her jaundice. She looked like a yellow glow toy. We kept her in this fish tank contraption with lights and could only feed her Pedialite. She was basically surviving on water with electrolytes. That made for one unhappy baby.

Sleep? What sleep? That’s only something the baby did occasionally and mostly during the day.

I remember rocking my oldest, in the same rocker we still have, way too early one morning staring at the little Mary statue we kept in her room. ¨Can you relate, Mary or was Jesus THE perfect baby?” I was torn. You love this kid badly then I’m thinking, “What did I get myself into? Will this ever end? Do they take returns on these?”

All parents go through this.  Some have it better than others. You travel from excited and expecting, to adventurous and delivering, to exhausted and caring for a newborn. I newbie human. It’s a miracle, right? You get transformed both as an individual and as a couple. There’s no turning back.

I remember back to a few things that were clear to me those first few days, weeks, months:

  • I had a renewed appreciation for my parent. Did I also put my folks through this? Nah!
  • We were like walking in the dark looking for answers any way we could.
  • The people we had around us were priceless.

We had my mother-in-law with us those first few weeks. It was so comforting to have her around. She didn’t have the answers, but she had been there / done that and could guide us.

We had a pediatrician who understood clueless, first-time parents. He would calm us down, encourage us, explain things, give us tips and generously confirm that everything was going to be OK.

We were also gifted with very good friends who already had kids. They shared so much with us to keep us from making mistakes they made.

We knowingly and unknowingly surrounded ourselves with a community of people. They became our go resources with experience that made getting through that early parenting period just a little bit easier. It wasn’t easy, but that extra “stuff” made it a little better that in would have been otherwise.

And the community grew. Who can forget Ms. Judy, our eldest’s preschool teacher. Whe would tell us, “Monica likes to stare out the window an awful lot when other kids are paying attention.” She had her own A.D.D. kid and she was our first guide in that adventure. (Long story for another time.)

Little Francesca’s mom, wasn’t talking at two. The speech therapist, with that nasal Long Island accent, got us through that one. She’s definitely past any talking issues. There were many others walked with us as part of that community. Some were professionals, others religious or church people. Some were friends, family members.

Together, they supported us and we are grateful.

Our kids are now 33 to 25 and are doing well. The next generation’s starting. We are now the community blessed and jumping in as part of their support team. Of course, we are ready to spoil them. What kind of grandparent’s do you think we are? But we are willing to share a little bit of what has worked for us in hopes it will help them with theirs.

Three cheers for community.