She hobbles past, every step an effort, almost painful to watch—
ninety years of walking and breathing, loving and living, caught up to her at last.
But they haven’t won yet. Not yet.
Behind her, a younger woman—a just-greying reflection of the older—hovers,
keeps a protective hand on the woman’s bent and crooked back.
The mother turns her head our way, just for a moment.
Her blue eyes, muted and milky by time, somehow still sparkle;
her white hair shines in the light from the window.
She glances at the tiny blanketed bundle, snug in my arms,
breathing now these nine days.
“Enjoy your baby,” she says with a knowing smile, and shuffles on.
“I will,” I say. “I do.”
And watching them pick their way—slowly, slowly—
through the lobby, past all the pregnant bellies,
until they disappear with the nurse through the double doors,
I am reminded
that she had her turn,
and now it is mine,
and one day,
this warm, blinking bundle I carry and shield and adore
will walk behind me
and do the same for me.
Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor,
diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it’s mostly the good kind.