Before Jacob was born, I put a lot of thought into how my role as a person was about to shift. I would add “mother” to my existing credentials as wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, etc. What I didn’t think much about was how the roles of those around me would change as well.
Because I was the first to have a baby on my side of the family in nearly 25 years, Jacob’s arrival ushered in lots of new roles: My parents became grandparents; my grandparents, great-grandparents (well, they always were!), and, my sister and brother-in-law became an aunt and uncle to our side of the family. (On Tom’s side, Jacob is the 17th grandchild, so while he is loved, his arrival didn’t change much in the way of familial roles.)
Because my parents live out of state, they weren’t able to schedule a trip to see Jacob until he was six weeks old. I was nervous that seeing them as grandparents would be strange. Turns out, they’re complete naturals. My dad instantly took to making him a “man”—talking to him about fixing things and Steeler football. My mom spent what seemed like every minute of their month-long visit playing with him. (They built such a good rapport that he eked out his first real laugh just for her. Yes, I was a little jealous!)
Over the holidays, we traveled out of state to visit family, and there I got to watch my sister and brother-in-law, grandparents, aunts and uncle get to know our little guy. My sister taught him the alphabet and his colors—his favorite was “aquamarine.” My brother-in-law, who has a notorious sweet tooth, talked to him all about cookies and candy. (Jacob doesn’t have a sweet tooth yet, or, for that matter any tooth at all, but he seemed to appreciate the topic all the same.) And the rest of the family cuddled him, and rocked him and showered him with Christmas presents and lots of love.
I had worried while I was pregnant that it would be weird bringing a baby home to a family that hadn’t had one around for so long, but it turns out it has been one of the sweetest parts of being a parent so far. I captured some of those sweet moments during our trip. You’ll find a few of my favorites below: