That’s not counting granddaughter Samantha, who delivered our sixth great-grandbaby (and first great-grandson), Gerit Davis Daugherty, just before noon.
Date for the surgery had been set a few weeks ago, much to the delight of the oldest grandson, Johnny, whose 19th birthday was already on the calendar for the same day.
Gerit’s cheering section included all manner of kin, led by his daddy Kevin, three big sisters and three female cousins, aunts, uncles and great-aunts and great-uncle, grandparents, step-grandparents, great-grandparents, and his mother’s best friend, Amber.
By 10 a.m., the scheduled hour of delivery, most of us had gathered in. But as obstetrics go, there was a period of waiting. Mother Nature and gynecologists operate on their own timetables, pun intended.
The big sisters were patient. They were appropriately dressed in matching pink skirts and shirts monogrammed with their names and the words “Big Sister.” They had matching flip-flops, and tiaras and big, big smiles.
They and their cousins spent 1½ hours hanging out, playing games on Leapsters and iPads, while adults did much the same with their laptops and iPhones, staying in touch with the world outside the hospital walls.
Seating was limited, even floor space was at a minimum. I watched as one of the guys got up to give his chair to a latecomer. As they argued a little about that, one of the little girls took the seat. That settled the discussion.
There was a TV in the room, but nobody showed any interest at all in watching it. A prominent sign stated emphatically, “No children under twelve (12) years allowed on this floor. Thank You.”
At intervals an adult would take the girls on short field trips down to the lobby or outside. PawPaw, the MOTH, even hitched a ride with the shuttle in the parking lot.
He was spotted having a very good time with the girls as the shuttle driver meandered through the parking lot, round and round, going absolutely nowhere, destination unknown.
After a misty, dreary morning with a few sprinkles, the sun made an appearance at 11:29, and within a minute we were told that Samantha was on her way to surgery.
In a matter of a few short minutes, our baby boy saw the light of day. His Nana, Linda, sent photos to cell phones in the waiting room, and bedlam reigned as the phones were passed around for all to see. My, my, modern technology.
In no time at all, we stood at the nursery window, watching Gerit as he performed his new life-dance movements for his family, raising his fat little arms high, reveling in the luxury of wide-open space, unhindered, oblivious to any need — yet — to be cuddled and sheltered.
That would come, oh so soon. We watched as competent and caring nurses took care of his first physical needs and got him ready to be placed in his mother’s arms for that most precious of life’s gifts, the love of a mother.
The next morning brought pleasant surprises to our computers.
Linda had graciously and efficiently emailed photos of the girls taking turns holding Gerit, all 8 pounds and 15 ounces of him, all (except Gerit) smiling proudly.
Another photo taken from within the nursery shows a goodly portion of our crowd gawking through the window at this new family member. That’s a keeper. Nanny and PawPaw, old-fashioned as we are, are hoping for some prints to show off.
This newcomer to the household calls for adjustments all around. All three big sisters will be in public school in the fall, a fact that calls for adjustments as well.
I realized over the past six years that having three little girls in today’s world is not quite the same as it was when we had three little girls.
The addition of a baby boy to the mix will make for some unforeseen situations. It’s going to be interesting. As an innocent bystander, I’ll try to remain neutral.
Hats off to Northside Hospital- Cherokee, the same hospital where Gerit’s mother was born on January 1, 1979. It was R.T. Jones Hospital then, and old-timers still refer to it as such, often shortening it to R.T.
The staff is competent and caring. The atmosphere is one of orderliness, yet accommodating and friendly. Visitors are treated with respect and understanding. Makes for great memories.
Juanita Hughes is Woodstock’s official historian and former director of the Woodstock Public Library.