Tested by Fire

We did not get to see our brand new great-nephew this past weekend because he had to go back to the hospital to be put under the bilirubin lights for a case of newborn jaundice, a common occurrence, but nonetheless hard on new parents who just want to take their baby home and start being a family.  My niece sent me a picture of the Little Dude with his shades on under the lights, and it looked like he was squawking. How stressing for new parents to have to sit and watch their baby cry and not be able to pick him up. He’s home now, though, and I think all is well, or will be, once they get into a flow.

Though our own two little guys had to go back to the hospital for hernia operations when they were a few months old, I don’t remember having to return any of our children within the first few days. There were times when they were older when we might have liked to return them, but my husband says we waited too long, and the Manufacturer’s warranty had long run out.

When we had our first baby, we were only 23 and 24. We had no money saved and lived in a one-bedroom apartment until less than a week before our daughter, Emily, was born. We had just moved into our two-bedroom place when I went into labor. I’m pretty sure we had to use a credit card to get our newborn out of hock. When I was teaching, if someone asked me about my children, I would ask them if they were talking about my students or the kids I bought on credit.

My grandmother and our three children, 1979.

My grandmother and our three children, 1979.

Parenting is darn hard. No instruction book comes with your kids, and one-size-fits-all doesn’t work anyway. As my daughter, a mother herself, has said many times, you do the best you can and hope all your mistakes can be fixed in therapy.

If you’re lucky, you have a host of other people who help you with parenting, even if you or they aren’t aware of it. Obviously, grandparents and aunties and uncles can take over some of the burdens or parenting, but good teachers and friends can be positive influences as well. They all help fill in the gaps that we parents have. As a parent, you can’t be 100% all the time, no matter how much you try. I thank God that he put so many wonderful people in my children’s lives as they were growing up, particularly an incredible friend, now in her eighties, who was like an Auntie Mame to them. And my middle child’s godparents, bless their hearts, who always believed in him, encouraged him, and helped him out financially at times.

My newborn grand-nephew

My newborn grand-nephew

It does, indeed, take a village to raise up a child. My husband and I are so happy that we get to be part of the village who will be raising this precious child.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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25 Responses to Tested by Fire

  1. adeladurkee says:

    Parenting is the best long-term investment around. Nurture your nest eggs and dividends will pay off for the rest of your life. (Wall Street Journal did a piece on the long-term benefits a few years ago concluding more kids give more long-term benefits.) Yes, make sure you consult the experts when you need nurturing advice.

  2. Livlife says:

    He’s beautiful, congratulations. I really enjoyed this post, found it very relatable and simply true.

  3. pattisj says:

    Haha! I can hear George saying that! We paid for a couple babies on credit, too, so I got a chuckle out of your response about “your children.” I wish the weather would hurry and straighten up so we can get out and enjoy it!

  4. Huffygirl says:

    Congratulations Susan. I watch our kids raising their kids and find myself nodding and laughing as I see them go through the same parental stresses that we did. Sometimes it’s like watching someone herd cats – amusing, and you’re glad not the one who is doing it.

    • Coming East says:

      I used to think I would be very sad when I couldn’t have any ore babies, HG. But the. You get to a certain age and have been busy raising kids for so long, you are so glad you don’t have to star all over again. I wouldn’t have the strength or patience anymore.

  5. E.C. says:

    Wonderful thoughts from your wonderful heart. It sounds like your daughter takes after you with her gift of witty wisdom. Precious baby, he’s so lucky to have such a big caring family to help him in this big old world. 🙂

  6. Lenore Diane says:

    Villages are wonderful.
    My first had jaundice for several weeks. We had to take him to the pediatrician several times a week to have his heel pricked. I remember being a nervous wreck.
    To this day when I see ‘white’ newborns, I gasp at how pale/white they look. It may come across as politically incorrect to those that don’t know about my son, but I will say out loud, “Oh my gosh! He/she is so white!” My kid – was not. It’s amazing to see the normal color of non-jaundice babies.

  7. dorannrule says:

    Your new grand-nephew is adorable Susan! I hope the parents are a bit calmer now and that all goes well. LOL reading,”,…we might have liked to return them, but my husband says we waited too long, and the Manufacturer’s warranty had long run out.” 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      Yes, Dor, my father warned us that we better be sure about this parenting stuff before we made a commitment because he was pretty sure you couldn’t return them after they turned two. Unfortunately, the first two years were the easy ones.

  8. Jenny says:

    I wrote a littlw bit about my appreciation for the lactation consultant that I worked with when we had a lot of trouble with my first son’s bilirubin levels in this post: http://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/ibclc-day/
    And this post with photos of him with the bili lights: http://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/happy-8th-birthday-robbie/
    I hope that your little nephew is home now cuddling with his mama!

  9. What a beautiful blessing!

  10. Dianna says:

    Aw…hope the little one will be fine now with no more problems. (My son was a preemie, and was 10 days old before we could bring him home. Tough times. But my Mom stayed with us for a week or two after he came home. So thankful for her; she was always there for me.)
    Love the little bits of humor in your post. Have a good Monday: stay warm!

  11. I’m sure he’ll be fine soon and these tough days will be filled with long nights and days of joy. Our first had this but they wouldn’t let him leave the hospital. As first time parents, we didn’t understand it. Lovely post.

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Grandma. It just seems so overwhelming at first, especially since the new daddy had to go back to law school. The new parents will only be together on weekends. At least my brother and sister live fifteen minutes away from their daughter.

  12. Oh, that is hard. We had to return to the hospital with our son when he was not quite 2 weeks, and it was one of the worst parenting things I’ve ever been through. Thank goodness, like your grand nephew, all was okay eventually. But it did make it harder to settle into a comfortable routine… the “what ifs” kept hanging around in my head for a long time. Parenting is darn hard, no question. No matter the age of the child or parent. But those early days are the hardest.

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