MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Town Supervisor Ken Schmitt is a proud first-time grandfather. That happened on Sunday, March 22, when his daughter-in-law, Kate, gave birth to little Aiden at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco.
Sadly, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Schmitt has not been able to be in the same room with Aiden, much less hold him in his arms.
“It’s very frustrating,” Schmitt said. “We are sad this has taken away a ‘first’ in my life—being able to hold the baby and have pictures taken. Nevertheless, we are extremely excited. There is no greater feeling than the birth of the first grandchild.”
When Kate and her husband, Brett (Schmitt’s son), were admitted to the hospital’s maternity ward last Sunday, Schmitt was informed that grandparents wound not be allowed to visit.
“I called my ex-wife (Lynne Mongon) and said there must be something we can do to welcome the birth of Aiden,” the new grandpa said. “It was Lynne and my other daughter-in-law, Emily, who came up with the idea to make up some signs and get some balloons.”
Aiden and his parents were on the third floor of the hospital with a window facing the parking lot. So, Schmitt and the extended family set up outside the window with the signs and balloons (keeping a safe distance apart). They called Brett and Kate and told them to look out the window and check out the celebration taking place below. The new parents came to the window and held up Aiden for all to see.
“A hospital security guard came out said they received a report that there were protesters,” Schmitt said with a laugh. “I said, ‘No, we are here to welcome the birth of our grandson.’ He called the administration to see if we could stay. Their PR person came out and said, ‘This is awesome!’ They took pictures for their website and their newsletter. They thought it was so cool but that is why we did it. This virus has changed the world and the way we do things, but it wasn’t going to stop the Schmitt family from celebrating. We needed to be creative and figure the best way we could do it.”
In fact, the story caught the eye of Channel 2 News’ Tony Aiello who called and said he would like to do a piece on the creative impromptu celebration.
Schmitt said he still can’t see the baby in person, though his son and daughter-in-law can show Aiden through the window at their home when he visits. But when he finally does get to hold his grandson, Schmitt says he knows some interesting memories will have already been created that can be shared around the dinner table when Aiden gets older.
“We created some memories with this and it’s a story we can tell when this crisis is over,” he said.
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