David and I decided that the biggest mistake we have made (over the last few months) was not documenting my mother's move to Assisted Living. Oh my God. It’s hard to know where to start but if you have been following the blob you know that mom has had 5 or six caretakers — if you count Connie, who we hired twice — that were very nice people but not who she needed to care for her. It doesn’t matter because she is in a place where she is not only safe but where she is challenged to do things she has not done for the past year or more. She seems OK with what’s happening and although we all agree there’s a little “I hate this but I don’t want to be a burden,” in fact she loves the fact that there’s a lot going on and that she is busy and making friends.
But I’m not going to blob about that till some other time because today was a very important day for us. Seth and Joyce, my children, had a baby boy. Welcome to the world Zachary Alexander Jacobson. Six pounds fourteen ounces, blue eyes and dark curly hair. The best of an Irish Jewish kid. It’s funny because David’s grandma was Irish and his grandpa was Jewish so we know for a fact that it’s a great combination, and what more could we ask for but a great combination.
Toasting Zachary, Joyce and Seth at Rose's new digs.. (with Pam and Els)
It’s funny what you think about when this wonderful thing happens. The kids are surrounded by family and friends and that’s a good thing but I remember when I had Seth and I was so exhausted I didn’t have the energy to eat ice cream, my favorite food. I just wanted to get to know my kid and sleep — anything else was kind of an intrusion — but you never want to tell people you love that they’re intruding, so you go with whatever.
I can remember the first time Seth and I came face to face. I wasn’t breast feeding because in the 70’s there was more concern about the role of the father than about immunities or anything else. We decided not to breast feed so his dad could share the feedings. That was OK. I got to sleep a little and Allan got to know his kid — and not only at pretty moments. It made a big difference in their relationship — all good. But the first time they brought Seth in to see me — after he was clean and tidy — he was in this little glass case. I didn’t pick him up right away because I had never held a baby that small and I wasn’t sure what to do with him. So we looked at each other for a while, me in my bed him in his glass case and then I thought, 'what do I do now?'
I ran into the hall and yelled for a nurse. “Look” I said, "is there any possibility that I can practice on someone else’s kid? Like, there must be someone who has had more than one kid who wouldn’t mind if I diapered them or fed them or dressed them, I’ve just never done this before so" ... But they didn’t have a kid available. So I picked him up and took him into bed with me and started to sing, in my very off key voice, some Jewish melody without words.
He was a little kid, very mushed and not entirely sure he should trust me, but we got beyond that. I had a baby nurse — at my family’s insistence — and couldn’t wait until she left so I could actually have my kid to myself. There are episodes I can remember so well about being a new mom — like the time when I was coloring my hair and I thought Seth had gotten into the poison cleaning stuff under the sink. I was hysterical when I called his dad to report the accident. There I was, color on my hair, half dressed, racing to the drug store to buy Ipacac to make him throw up with, Allan calling everyone in the medical Brandeis medical community to insure he would be OK. He was fine. It took us years to recover.
When he was two, I was very thin and I would wrap a scarf, instead of a top, around my myself to cover my breasts. He wanted to cover himself in the same way. So he would scream until I would wrap a scarf around his top so we would have identical covering. I remember the hours we spent reading and the hours we spent getting acquainted. It never stops with a kid — you’re always learning and relearning who they are. You remember all the firsts and all the foolish. Seth hated the idea of the tooth fairy, so we would have to leave his teeth outside his room so the fairy wouldn’t invade his private sleeping space.
It goes on and on and I know what it’s like to be a parent for the first time, but what’s it like to be a grandparent parent for the first time? Do you give advice, comfort, support, what? We have no idea, but hopefully we will be quick studies. It’s such a different world from when we had our kids. It’s harder because the world is harder but Seth and Joyce have overcome so may difficulties that I’m sure they’ll be just terrific and I pray that we can measure up. So from MeMe and Boss (our grandparent handles) — keep your fingers crossed for us. We’re just sayin....Iris