A Daughter Only

Suddenly my mother is longing for grandbabies. But I am so not there yet.

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helena
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I’m not sure exactly when it happened. I’m referring, of course, to that moment in my mother’s mind when I shifted from being her prized only daughter to her only hope for grandchildren.

The woman’s got a crazy case of “the grandbabies.”

Maybe it was last fall, when I turned 28 and spent a stimulus check on a purebred I named Miles. When I told my mother about my plan to get a puppy, she cooed, “Awww, are you lonely, little brown-eyed girl?” Lonely? I’m single, lady, not psycho. I got Miles the next day and her first response was, “You girls nowadays would rather get a dog than a baby!” It was the first time I’d heard her say the word “baby” with such conviction, such craving—as if it were a prophecy being revealed in pieces she’d been hiding.

We both laughed, though, and I changed the subject to something more suitable for mothers and their adult-ish daughters—boys.

There was this friend of mine—we’ll call him John—who she had noted was “respectful with a nice build.” Unsure if she was matchmaking or just making small talk, I paid her no attention, offering up no annotations of my own and repeating a familiar refrain, “We’re just friends, woman.”

Around Christmastime, my mother’s baby craving became impossible to ignore. My cousin’s oldest son—the first kid I babysat for free—had just had his own son. He was the first member of our family’s sixth generation and seemingly the first baby ever. My mother cradled her great-great nephew for the first time, looking down at him—and across the room at me, expectantly.