By Janice Llanes Fabry
Where do I begin? Last December, our daughters told us they were pregnant, both due on August 22, 2017. Nine months later, lo and behold, Jesi gave birth to Cora Lane and Jena gave birth to Cole Richard at the same hospital, three days and two ounces apart. To admit it’s an embarrassment of riches is an understatement. At the risk of getting sappy, to witness two miracles of life in one week, both whom we met in the Labor and Delivery Room minutes after their births, is an affirmation of all that is good in the world.
Moreover, my husband and I have found ourselves in the unique position of having our grandchildren live with us. Our daughters and their husbands’ New York City apartment leases expired this summer and we persuaded them to move back home while they look for houses in Westchester and Connecticut. On a nesting spree, I unburdened myself of the girls’ childhood desks, art projects, and trophies to make room for bassinets, changing tables, and more baby paraphernalia than any unsuspecting newborn would ever need.
Once they moved in, everything ran pretty smoothly for a while as we awaited both babies’ imminent arrivals in the dog days of summer. We managed to have dinner and a few laughs together every evening after their commute from work in the city.
Then one night while we were all sleeping, our idyllic arrangement was turned on its head. Cora came along on a Thursday, Cole on that Sunday, and by Monday we were all together again plus two.
What a gift it is having a bird’s-eye view of our children’s new lives unfolding, and watching our daughters come into their own as young mothers. I’m also noticing sides of our sons-in-law we never saw before as they lovingly cradle their newborns. While one hopes to win a parent/child golf championship with his son one day, the other sings JT’s “Cry Me A River” to soothe his daughter whom he’s convinced will one day be president.
I may be the matriarch, who’s supposed to be adept at baby care, but it had been a long time since I held umbilical cord stumps and applied diaper rash ointment. Though I was a little rusty, it wasn’t long before I estimated that our two newborns go through 200 diapers a week and realized that a diaper can’t be fastened securely enough.
I’ve also finally learned the difference between a Pack ‘n Play and a Rock ‘n Play, and I’ve become quite proficient with the machinations of an UPPAbaby stroller. While sprints to buybuy Baby have superseded runs to Bloomingdale’s, pediatrician visits have supplanted manicure appointments. Speaking of manicures, I discovered tiny emery boards for our babies’ Lilliputian fingernails and clippers with built-in magnifier lights for middle-aged eyes.
Our expanding family still manages to have dinner together every night, only now a symphonic soundtrack of newborn-pitched cries plays in the background. Some of us sit at the table, while some of us stand and jiggle and coo.