The main reason why Grandma Lou has such great stories is because she had 9 kids. Yup. No joke. 9 of them. With her and Grandpa John plus the 9 kids they could have played full court basketball against one another AND had enough people to have an official "referee". 9. Kids. Holy. Shit.
The best part about Grandma Lou's stories about raising 9 kids is that they are completely relatable, but then they're also on a whole different scale...because you have to times them by 9. :)
One of my favorite stories is her first official "Mom" story. My dad was the first born, John E. When they brought him home from the hospital, Grandma Lou says that her and Grandpa laid my dad on the bed and just started him. She said she just kept thinking, "Okay, now what are we supposed to do!?" It's hilarious, because it's true. Steven & I brought baby M.D. home and I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, they just let us leave with this baby! I don't know anything about babies!" Clearly, we figured it out, but there is a certain level of panic that set in!
Then there's Grandma Lou's stories one kid dropping the other when they were a baby, catching the kids smoking/drinking/etc as teens, so-and-so got in trouble for this-that-and the other. The best part...they are always told with a smile and a laugh. She can do that now, she says, because they all survived. So now it can be funny :)
This weekend's story was of a dog the kids had for a few weeks when they were little. John E, Uncle Fran and Grandma Lou ALL remember the story differently. It was hilarious. Nobody can even agree on what dog it was...and it was their only pet, ever.
My cousin Bridget and I were laughing together about the incredible stories Grandma Lou tells us. They're always new, every time we see her. She literally has had enough different, hilarious stories to entertain us with new ones constantly for the past 27 years. It's awesome.
I told Bridget I wonder what Grandma Lou would be like if she had never had any kids. Anybody who is a mother knows that there is a switch in who you are when you become a mom. It's not always huge, it's not always something people around you even notice, but it happens. It's like a fork in the road. Maybe your new road doesn't stray too far from your old one, but over time it will continue to separate from the old path until it is impossible for you to even guess what your life would be like had you never had kids. I already see it with M.D. I wonder what kind of person I'd be like had I chosen to never have kids. Not just not have them right now, I mean NEVER. I'll never know, and I'm happy for that. I know this is the right path for me :)
Back to Grandma Lou...we decided she'd probably be a lot less laid back. Isn't that funny? I think of myself as high strung BECAUSE I'm a mom, but I don't think anybody could survive raising 9 kids that way. Grandma Lou told me that when she had her 9th child, she was in the hospital and the nurses brought the baby in to stay in her room. Grandma said, "Nope! Take her to the nursery! I've got her for the next 21 years, you can handle her for the next 24 hours!" :) This is why my grandma is awesome. I remember being in the hospital with M.D. being the paranoid new mom that I was (and still am sometimes) and they would take M.D. to the nursery for various tests and thinking, "If he is away from me too long will it cause him psychological damage?!" By the 2nd night in the hospital, with little to no sleep, I was asking them to take him for a few hours so I could rest!
I look forward to many more lessons from Grandma Lou.
If she survived raising 9 babies, she must know everything :)