She Stares at Her Daughter

His thirty-nine-year-old daughter called to tell him

that her twenty-two-month-old daughter is beginning

 

to look like his daughter’s mother who died when his

daughter was twenty. She tells him she just sits and

 

stares at her daughter seeing who was in who is and

probably wondering what is to be.  She hasn’t seen,

 

touched or kissed her mother in nineteen years, half her

life ago, but she can see, touch and kiss her all over

 

again, differently, now as the mother,  in the baby’s blue

eyes and blond hair and the baby face before her, in the

 

one who came out of her own womb just as she had come

out of her mother’s. He tells her to keep staring because

 

before she knows it, her daughter will be up and out. He doesn’t

know if she liked that idea very much.  She probably doesn’t

 

want to contemplate another loss of a loved one even if it

means years still down the line, just out of the house and down

 

the block or maybe even another state or country. She lifts

and holds her daughter lightly and gently like an unopened

 

package marked fragile which just arrived in the mail, holds

the image before her eyes, gently inhales and smells the hair

 

just like her mother’s, kisses the damp top of her daughter’s

head just like her mother used to kiss the top of her head. Even

 

though she wants to, she doesn’t hold her daughter too tightly

out of some abandonment fear because the child would

 

just wiggle free like a baby brookie in a fast mountain stream and skip

out early.  She knows it happens a lot. She cradles her daughter

 

and begins to hum “Rock a Bye Baby” just like her mother hummed

to her thirty some years ago. A tear falls on her daughter’s cheek.

 

His daughter leans over and kisses the tear savoring the saltiness.

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