By GAIL MAHOLICK

gmaholick@tnonline.com [1]

Would you believe my daughter brought along a timer to Thanksgiving dinner? She really didn't need it. We all behaved like civilized adults and shared our time holding baby Caroline.

The timer sat unused, but the message was loud and clear. Jana wasn't going to stand for anyone fighting to hold the baby.

I enjoyed my time with Caroline, but I saw Jana's point that when you have both sets of doting grandparents, plus an aunt and a cousin, who can't seem to get enough time with the baby, it could have gotten out of control. Caroline stayed awake for most of the day, only taking brief naps. Her eyes took in the many faces, the change of scenery and the lights and it seemed like she didn't want to miss a thing.

Our Thanksgiving Day tradition to have dinner at our house began back when Jana was a toddler. Our adoption of the holiday took some pressure off our in-laws and it gave my daughters an opportunity to learn how to be hostesses. Over the past 30 plus years, we have seen our family size getting smaller due to the passing of all the in-laws, but with the natural order of things, the daughters married, and we gained sons-in-law and Jana's in-laws for the Thanksgiving holidays. Our other daughter lives in Texas and has started her own family traditions with her husband's family.

The daughters, even as toddlers, were part of preparations for the day, but when Jana married we had the "official passing of the Thanksgiving roaster."

Somehow, with the birth of Caroline this year, the roaster almost made its way back in the house. I say almost, because while the turkey was roasted at Jana's house, everyone gathered at my house for the meal and the time afterward when we relaxed and enjoyed conversation and football games on television.

It was really nice to share the day with people who share a common bond of loving a beautiful baby.

We bonded as one large family in a way that we never quite did before because of our shared love of Caroline.

For a few brief minutes during our lovely day, I thought of the many babies who are not as lucky as our precious Caroline. So many babies are not loved and cherished, but are beaten and abused because the parents think of themselves first. They can't stand the crying and when their bad behavior gets control of their thoughts, the baby pays sometimes with it's life.

These people should never have become parents until they were ready to think that a baby's needs come first. Some people are never meant to be parents.

Through Caroline's birth, I have come to appreciate my son-in-law. He has taken to the role of father in a way that impresses me.

Yes, I do believe what Jana told me, "She is everything to me." And the way that I see these two parents are with their baby, I know there will be no "Super Nanny" needed in their lives to help them control an unruly child because Caroline will be raised with manners, respect and love.

So Jana leave your timer at home for Christmas Day. We know how to share.