Blessings of our little ones

A friend recently had a new baby in the family. I congratulated his grandmother knowing that he followed the birth of two little girls.

That got me thinking of babies. My own babies are now grown adults with children of their own. I remember it like it was yesterday when each of my children were born.

Our son is the oldest. He was early and he was tiny – below five pounds. In those days mothers and babies stayed in the hospital longer than they do today. Although he was not up to the standard weight of five pounds by the time I was to go home, they let him go with me since he was nursing well.

The following year we welcomed a baby girl. When I went to the hospital we did not have a boy’s name picked out so it was a good thing she was a girl. I had that left over from the first time.

Our daughter went home in a snowstorm even though she was born at the beginning of November. I lied about having help at home because I just wanted to be at home. My husband was busy building on the barn and was unable to visit. My mother was coming to help us at the end of the week.

I enjoyed every minute with my little ones. I think I was born to be a mother. They got plenty of attention, but were disciplined too.

They went to church with me from the very beginning. I used to joke with the pastor about his sermons that put the little ones to sleep.

Life was easy before school. We really did not keep much of a schedule. That all changed when the children went to school.

We lived at Hickory Heights when our son went to kindergarten. I was cooking on a wood stove. I stoked up the fire to make lunch, then let it die back while I drove him to school.

The following year it was my daughter’s turn to go. By then I was substituting so I had a lady pick her up every day. Sometimes she was down the road at the neighbor’s and sometimes she was home. It depended whether I was substituting or not.

I loved each phase of motherhood and grew in my understanding of children with each one.

When our children were in high school I ran the church youth group and did the youth choir in conjunction with other helpful friends and parents. The children had a lot of fun singing and doing service projects. Just being together for events kept our young people faithful and happy. There were approximately twenty young people at the time. I recall doing a Christian musical before they all took off for college.

When our daughter married her brother was in the wedding party. They were very close. She was in law school at the time and living in Iowa. They came home to be married. She wore my wedding dress so we just had to have it shortened and cleaned. The rehearsal dinner was at Hickory Heights with all homemade food.

About two years later her brother married in a simple ceremony in Mentor, Ohio. Jill was her brother’s “best man”.

After a few years our first grandchild was born. Luckily, she waited until I was finished with school for the year. I spent as much time as possible with that sweet baby girl. My mother was still alive so friends and I divided my time between them.

The following year we welcomed a baby boy. Since my son and daughter-in-law were operating a vet clinic at the time they took little time off. They took the little guy to work and hired a nanny to be with him. They worked long hours so that gave them time to look in on the baby between surgeries and appointments.

I volunteered one day a week to babysit with each of the grandchildren on a separate day. We took nature walks, played with Play-Doh, built with blocks and Tinker Toys.

When they were old enough we progressed to Legos. The children liked to build on their own not following any patterns.

I think my favorite thing to do was to share nature with them. Walks at the Audubon were on the top of the list. Since I was a member we always went inside to do puzzles and play in whatever happened to be set up at the time.

Gradually the children were at my house on the same day so the dynamics changed a lot. I always made supper for all on those days. The meal was always something that could be served out as people showed up from work.

Now two of the three grandchildren are off to college. While I am very proud of both of them, I worry about them as they spread their wings. They are always in my prayers.

Of course, the youngest is in my prayers as well. There are so many dangers out there. Toward the end of summer four young people from this area were involved in a dangerous accident. We knew them well so there was concern for the families whose lives were turned upside down in an instant.

How can you help our young people? Pray for all of them as they head back to school. Lift them up during this crucial time of their lives. Remember how influential their friends are and cultivate good friendships. A prayer during a crucial moment just may keep our young people safe – whatever the circumstances.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at