Babies Don’t Keep

Posted on: July 30th, 2011 by Kay Swatkowski

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

When our children were very small, we lived in a tiny house in St. Louis.  All of the kids shared a bedroom, except for the baby, whoever that was at the moment.

The baby’s room was yellow with a dark, maple crib and matching dresser and changing table.  The only other  piece of furniture in the small room was a rocking chair we had painted black.  Every afternoon, I would remove the family of stuffed animals from the rocker and the baby and I would read picture books and rock.

Jenny loved Berenstain Bears.  Jon’s favorite book was Toulose the Chocolate Moose.  Julie adored Honey Bear.  And, Joy loved stories about baby animals.

As, I rocked our  baby before their  afternoon nap, I often looked at this poem, hanging over the changing table.  It was a constant reminder to me that the quiet time I was spending with this little one was more important than cleaning, or cooking or laundry.

I am so glad that I took that time with my children.  While they were too little to remember those precious moments, I remember them with a tender joy and gratitude.

Today, while babysitting our two youngest grandchildren, Samantha and Madelyn, I was amazed how true that poem is even for a grandma.

Babies don’t keep.

Our oldest grandchild, Nicole, will soon be 15.  We spent many happy hours with her and how I wish I could have those days back.  Our only grandson, Kevin, is 11 1/2.  Every minute we have spent with this loving, intelligent boy has been a gift. Now, the other two are growing and changing before our eyes.

So, once again, and with great joy, I am putting the cleaning and scrubbing on notice:  “Quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep.  I’m rocking my (grand) babies and babies don’t keep.”




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17 Responses

  1. Jenn says:

    Oh this was wonderful!! I love that poem! Yes time does fly. My oldest is 15…It is hard to think in three more years he’ll be moving on to college :( I remember like yesterday holding him in my arms thinking the world revolved around him.

    Thanks for posting this!! I shall write down that poem!!

    Cheers, Jenn

    • Kay says:

      Jenn,,your picture looks too young for you to have a 15 year old!! Yes, these times can be bittersweet! Glad you enjoyed the poem.

  2. Diane says:

    Having 6 of the 7 wigglies overnite. Played games, had sketty for supper, swimming and now popcorn and a movie before lights out. Chocolate Chip pancakes for breakfast. My sons never had that :) It’s all good when it’s the wigglies.

  3. Beth says:

    What a wonderful post! I took that time with mine, too, knowing that if I blinked, they’d be grown. Now I am where you are, loving the grands and basking in those moments. My grandchildren range in age from six to just over two years old (and we have another on the way!), and I know that blink or not, this time will pass all too quickly. I don’t intend to waste a minute of it.

    • Kay says:

      Beth, i am with you. It does go in the blink of an eye. It is such a gift to see our “children’s children.” God Bless you Grandma!

  4. Jan Parrish says:

    My grandbaby is 2 1/2. I am about to start homeschooling preschool and I’m greatly looking forward to it. What a joy and a privilege it is to have my sweet grandchild here with me.

    • Kay says:

      Jan, it must be wonderful! I was thinking about doing the same thing with our three year old…but this is just in the grandma dreaming stage. :) Best wishes to you as you startthis wonderful adventure.

  5. Lillian says:

    Beth, It is amazing how fast these grandchildren grow up. My baby grandchildrn are twin girls and they just turned 8 years old last month. My oldest is 29. I have my third grandchild getting married next week. It presents an urgency for me to pray for them during these crucial years of their growing up.
    Thanks for the remnder.
    God bless you!

    • Kay says:

      Lillian,
      You do have a challenge! They are truly growing (or are grown) up. But, God answers prayers on the behalf of grandmothers. I am convinced. It would be nice to know how many grandchildren are represented by the regulars here at American Grandma.

  6. Janet Zoellner says:

    I remember stitching that poem into a wall hanging too! When I was clearing out some things from the bookshelves I was amazed by the special memories of the books. The kids definitely knew which were read for bedtime or when they were sick. I heard it said recently to a group of parents that live in poverty, “When you’re reading a book to your child you are wiping away the divide of income.”

    • Kay says:

      Janet, that is an amazing statement! That reading experience is so important to children –and there are so many memories.

  7. Judi Shisler says:

    Beautifully written Kay. I only had one baby, but loved every stage she went through- Now I am looking forward to the time with our first grandchild.

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