Today, Audrey referenced the “bassinet” in her post about getting ready for our little baby Henry.
The same Bassinet that Audrey’s father slept in when he was an infant.
Of all our family traditions, the Bassinet is the most special of all. And it began more than six decades ago with my mother-in-law, Florence.
By the start of 1946, Florence and Joseph Couto had been married for seven years, and still no baby. Now I must tell you here that Florence was born to be a mom. She was… and at 89, still is the most giving, caring, generous person I have ever known. Her two sisters were having baby upon baby, so Florence did shower all of her maternal-ness on her nieces and nephews, but she longed for her own bundle of joy.
And in fact, her older sister would find out that she was expecting her third child in October of ’46. Her younger sister would find out the she was expecting her second child in November of ’46.
Well, 1946 would turn a corner in the life of Flo and Joe. A little morning sickness and a positive pregnancy test would tell Flo that she too was expecting a baby… in December of ’46.
Can you say post -war babies!?
Of course, Florence was beyond joyful. She set about sewing and knitting and crocheting and preparing for this miracle that she had so longed for. And soon enough, a nephew arrived in October. A niece arrived in November.
And Stephen Couto arrived in December. All was right with the world. All was ready.
Except a bassinet. Florence had always admired and loved the white second-hand bassinet that her older sister had purchased for her first baby… and used for each baby. Florence had dreamed of her own child sleeping in that bassinet. But that would not happen because her baby nephew was using it.
So Florence set off to the same second-hand store where her sister had purchased her bassinet several years earlier… and there it was. An identical bassinet. The Bassinet that would start a long Couto family tradition.
That Bassinet was admired and loved by Florence, most especially while watching her own baby boy sleeping in it. But soon, Stephen would have to vacate the Bassinet… as Florence had the surprise of her life. Barry. My husband. Born 18 months later. Florence could not believe her blessings in having her two boys. Her Bassinet.
But wait. There’s more! There would be a third son, Richard, born two years later. Another baby for that precious Bassinet.
That would be it for Flo and Joe’s babies… but Florence wrapped and preserved that lovely Bassinet for another generation. Barry would be the one who listened to the stories, the traditions. And each of his children would sleep in that Bassinet. Keith. Adam. Audrey. Jane. Different ribbons, trimmings, bumpers and bows. Different skirts. Different colors. Each unique. Each touched by Nana Flo.
Each of Barry’s grandchildren has slept in the Bassinet. Taylor. Madison. Andrew. Jacob. William. Alexander. Benjamin. And when Henry arrives home… Henry will continue the tradition. Each touched by Great-Nana Flo.
My mother-in-law… Florence Couto… she has given our family more than a beautiful tradition of the Bassinet, always delivered with grand celebration to the home of the new baby. Florence has given us the tradition of the greatest love of all. Family.