Five-month-old Hailee doesn’t know that she has a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother and a great, great grandmother looking out for her.
But someday, Red Deer’s Hailee Borodey will hear all the stories.
Borodey’s mother, Danielle Beer, said it’s not the first time the central Alberta family has had five living generations of women. The last time that happened was when Beer’s mother, Nicole Smith, was born in 1976.
The five generations of women are Borodey, Beer, 22, Smith, 43, Borodey’s great grandmother Charlene Wells, 66, and her great, great grandmother, Marjorie Wells, 89.
That means there is an 89-year age difference between Borody and Marjorie.
Recently, the five central Alberta women took a family photo, to capture the memory, just like it happened after Smith was born, more than 40 years ago.
Beer said having five living generations of women is not so common.
“Honestly, to me, this was never a big deal, because I’ve always had my great grandma (Marjorie) and all of my parents have had kids young.
“So, I never even thought it was odd to have five generations, but as I got talking to people, I realized, ‘oh man, most people only have like a great grandma and that’s it,’” said Beer this week.
“So it’s pretty neat for Hailee to have a great, great grandma who is still alive and doing well.”
That realization sunk in for Beer when she was pregnant.
“That’s when we pulled out the old picture,” said Beer.
“My other half, for example, doesn’t have great grandparents. He has his grandma.”
Smith, a Blackfalds resident and a registered nurse in Red Deer, said the family has experienced loss over time, such as when Smith’s brother, Robert Shewchuk, of Lacombe, died of brain cancer more than 10 years ago.
The family also has a five-generation picture with Shewchuk from 1974.
“My mom is the second oldest out of six kids, and we lost her older brother in 2012. And a month prior, we lost my grandpa.
“So very, very close family members we’ve lost. So we really value family and who is with us,” said Smith.
Those experiences have brought the family closer, which means the women cheer one another, encourage each other to keep healthy and active, and to always be in touch.
“We’re very close. We keep each other happy, and happiness is major to somebody’s health,” said Smith.
Smith said the women in the family are giving, strong-willed, strong-minded and independent, and already she sees those traits in Borodey, who was born premature.
“She’s going to be a spitfire,” said Smith, with a chuckle.
Beer will be elated to have all the women in the family at her wedding next summer.