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.