April 04, 2020

Across the lawn

my pregnant daughter from twenty feet away

Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter is expecting a baby in June, on her 34th birthday. We’d planned to spend our spring break together. She works at the big university that borders the small science college where I work, and we have the same academic calendar. We’d planned to take the train into the Big City Like No Other, one last mother-daughter trip before her first child arrives. We’d planned to wander the streets, browse through the shops in Chinatown and Soho, eat at little restaurants, and watch street performers in Washington Square.

But, of course, the City That Never Sleeps is now the epicenter of the pandemic. We cancelled our trip and spent spring break shifting our courses online. We now both spend a considerable amount of time each day reading the news, checking on family and friends, and worrying about our students. She keeps giving me reports from an online forum of pregnant women, where the anxiety about giving birth during a pandemic is running high.

It’s hard to live 2.7 miles away from my daughter and not see her. I talk to her on the phone multiple times each day. One cold sunny day, she drove over to sit in a chair in my backyard. I sat on the backstep, bundled in my winter coat, and we talked to each other, a good twenty feet between us. At my request, she stood up to stand sidewise and show me her pregnant belly, even pulling up her shirt so I could get a good look. Then we waved goodbye across the lawn, and she drove home.

14 comments:

A Brit in Tennessee said...

The world surely feels in freefall, yet everyday situations seem to reel us back into the real world.
Congratulations to your daughter, may she have a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy, new life...what could be more encouraging at a time like this.
Thank you for visiting.
Stay safe,
~Jo

L said...

Oooooh! Wonders of the pandemic!! Two more blog posts from you!! I didn't even read the other one yet!!

Pregnant women now pray they can have at least their spouses in the birth, if it is a hospital birth. Were you planning to be there for the birth? :( Would she consider a home birth? I'm so sad you couldn't spend Spring Break with her as you'd planned and that you need to see her from far away. :( So so sad! Too many things to grieve during this pandemic.

The reason I dreamed of having a daughter, was that I felt I'd love to be there for her pregnancy and for her births (as my mom was in mine, my in-laws would have been for my youngest if he had come only half a day earlier -- they were inside an airplane when he finally arrived), but then I went to have two sons. I hope I'll have nice daughters-in-law who will let me participate in the process of becoming a grandmother too, since I do not have daughters. Sigh...

jo(e) said...

L: Yeah, I was planning to be there with her at an alternative birthing center, but it's inside a hospital, so now I likely won't be there. At least our governor signed an executive order saying that all laboring women get at least one support person so her partner can be there. I don't know if her midwives can move to a home birth at this stage -- it's more time-intensive for the midwives and they might be stretched thin already. Her due date isn't until June, though, so we'll see what happens. In this state, we are likely hitting the peak of the pandemic in another week or so.

gz said...

Good to be able to see each other even if at a distance... sending you both a virtual hug ((0))

Librarian said...

My sister, my parents and I live even closer to each other than you and your daughter, and yet we can only speak to each other at a distance. As you know from my blog (my Mum's Dustin Bar!), we do meet occasionally, but I am not putting a foot in my parents' flat/apartment or my sister's.

We hear much worrying news about New York on the news. Hopefully, you and your loved ones will pull through alright.

Debbie said...

awwww, an unusual visit but a visit none the less!!! our world is so different and we as humans adjust, and hopefully don't complain. we are home, we are safe and we occasionally come up with great ideas like this so we can "see" each other!!!

it is not the best time to be pregnant, hopefully, she will pray and be ok!!!

Zhoen said...

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley"

Yankee, Transferred said...

When my Younger Daughter gave birth in March to her fifth child, I was not allowed to go. It was the first of her children to be born without me in the hospital with them. These are, indeed, weird times. XOXOXO

Far Side of Fifty said...

Aww I feel so sorry for new Moms now, they must feel so anxious. Hope all goes well for her:)

Jeanie said...

I'm grateful you are at least close enough to see each other but oh, it must be so difficult to not be able to hug or hold each other. I know that feeling. But it must be so much more now for you and your daughter. May it pass soon.

robin andrea said...

There is something so compelling about having to stay so far apart when our hearts want us to run to each other and hug and weep. I'm glad you got to see your daughter's belly.

Roderick Robinson said...

It's proof, isn't it, that restrictions to our normal life make us more observant, more responsive to minutiae. Had The Plague taken off for the North Pole you would - in the intervening weeks - have made a dozen 5.4-mile round trips, talked to your daughter about metempsychosis, the late William F. Buckley Jr and a conceptualisation of the perfect brownie, returned home synthezised these threads into one great hypothesis for your blog, and slept soundly. I have you down as a Mac laptop user.

Instead we have this deliciously detailed evidence of your daughter's pregnancy. I, at least, am the winner.

jo(e) said...

Roderick Robinson: Yes, a Mac laptop user! How did you know?

It's a weird time right now. Each morning, I read the New York Times and I'm focused on what's happening in the country -- and the world -- but then the rest of the day, I'm so focused on home because that's where I am every day, all day.

Jeff said...

Wishing for all the best for your daughter and family at this time. Glad to see New York has decreased cases. Unfortunately most of the remaining regions aren't as fortunate.