6 Generations of Women Pose for Sweet Family Photo: 'This One Was Special'

A group of women recently came together to take a very special photo featuring six generations of their family, including a 98-year-old woman and her great-great-great granddaughter

6 Generations of Women Pose for Sweet Family Photo: 'This One Was Special' https://www.facebook.com/gracie.s.howell/posts/10223934766584605
(L-R) Frances Snow, Gracie Howell, Jacqueline Ledford, Jaisline Wilson stand behind MaeDell (Taylor) Hawkins and baby Zhavia. Photo: facebook

A group of women recently came together to take a very special photo featuring all six generations of their family.

Gracie Howell, 58, tells PEOPLE that over the years, her 98-year-old grandmother has held "hundreds of babies" — and a photo taken last month shows MaeDell (Taylor) Hawkins cradling the newest member of the family in her arms: her great-great-great granddaughter Zhavia, who was born in December.

"We thought this was special because it's all girls," Gracie says.

In addition to MaeDell and Zhavia, the photograph shows Gracie standing alongside her mother Francis, her daughter Jacqueline and her granddaughter Jaisline, who's also the baby's mom.

Gracie says her grandmother, who will be 99 in July, is still "smart as a tack" — and isn't afraid to "tell you how to take care" of a child.

At one point during the visit, "Zhavia got a little fussy," at which point MaeDell, who now lives in a nursing home and stays in bed, "swooped her right out of mama's arms."

"We have a picture of her actually tickling her little feet," she adds. "Sweet moments."

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While she admits her family has an "amazing" story, Gracie says she never thought their photo would cause such a stir. But after sending the photo privately to a local meteorologist and sharing a bit about her grandmother's life, she says been "overwhelmed" by the positive response.

Plus, it's provided an "amazing" opportunity to her her grandmother "a little recognition," she adds.

Gracie says her grandmother's life wasn't always easy — but she "never heard her complain."

MaeDell got married to her first husband, who worked on the railroads and was gone most of the week, when she was 16 and he was 50. In addition to being a stepmother to his 10 children, they also welcomed 13 kids together.

"She had no modern conveniences, no washer dryer, no dishwasher, no running water. I mean, I can remember I was a teenager and she still didn't have running water," says Gracie. Still, she says her mother couldn't recall ever going without a hot breakfast and supper — or not having clean clothes to wear.

"I know she had it hard, but she didn't complain," says Gracie. "She just went about her day."

And over the years, the family kept growing. Gracie says the next baby born will be no. 622. "It's a big family," she says.

Along the way, MaeDell has "outlived her husbands" as well as all but one of her stepchildren.

"She's had a full life," adds Gracie. "I just love her."

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