A Grandmother’s Story

sadie-for-share-a-night-pageI first met my granddaughter, Sadie, hours after she was born. She was perfect, beautiful and really, really small. Sadie was born at 29 weeks and weighed 3 lbs. 1 oz.

Before Sadie was born, my daughter Maggie was placed on maternity bed rest and hospitalized for three weeks. We all pitched in to help, myself, Maggie’s husband, and his parents. My time was divided between working, commuting to the hospital from Olean (about 2 hours away), taking care of my 18-month old grandson Sebastian, and sleeping in a reclining chair in Maggie’s hospital room. It was stressful, exhausting and a very emotional time for us all. As the grandmother, I was worried about everyone and everything; sleep did not come easy. After Sadie was born and Maggie was discharged from the hospital, we knew we had to stay close. Commuting each day in the winter from Olean was not a practical option. In my previous job, I referred people to the Buffalo Ronald McDonald House, but had never been to the House and I never imagined in a million years that I would one day be staying there with my daughter and grandson.

My first impression of the House as we walked into the foyer was “amazing”. It took me back in history to the days of grandeur. Knowing it was once someone’s home made me feel immediately comfortable. It
was so relaxing and inviting. I immediately felt calmer and I saw this same feeling come over my daughter. For the first time in a very difficult three weeks, I felt some of the weight being lifted off my shoulders.

img_2400Children’s Hospital with Sadie and staying at the House with Sebastian. The The Ronald McDonald House was full of such caring individuals, they were phenomenal. For the next couple of weeks, my daughter and I took turns spending time at Oishei smile on my daughters face knowing she could be with Sebastian at the Ronald McDonald House while still spending time with Sadie at the hospital put me at ease.

I was so impressed how the Ronald McDonald House so quickly became like home for all of us, especially Sebastian. As a typical little boy, Sebastian is very chatty, friendly and very busy. The staff and volunteers understood this and became his instant new hug friends. His days were spent playing in the img_5527playroom (the yellow bus was his favorite), helping cook with the volunteers, visiting everyone he met, and practicing the Barney “I Love You” song to sing while facetiming his baby sister.

I always knew the local WNY community is known for their generosity and caring, but experiencing it first hand from all of the staff and volunteers was really touching. Everything we needed was there for us.  I quickly came to realize that the Ronald McDonald House allowed me to focus entirely on my family members.

Most grandparents dream of the moment after their grandchild is born and holding them as soon as
mom and dad say it’s ok. Although, it will be a long time before I can cuddle my precious little granddaughter, the support and tranquility of the Ronald McDonald House helped me to dig down deep and find the courage to be strong for my daughter, my grandson and son-in-law. Today, Sadie is over
4 pounds and growing each day. Did I mention that my granddaughter is a miracle and is perfect? I can’t wait for my first Sadie cuddle.

-Linda Ryan-Solomon