"A child, more than all other gifts
That earth can offer to declining man,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts."
I am your grandmother.
I spent 24 years making
parenting mistakes, so I think
I'm pretty well trained now,
pretty worn down, open-minded
I think we'll be good friends.
At sixteen, your mother
said she was having a baby
and held up to me the blue pastic
device that tested her urine stream
like when she held up the blue ribbon
she won in kindergarten for the best
easter bunny nest made from marshmallows
and dyed yellow coconut.
Then she threw the blue device out
into the space between us on the bed,
like it was the best card in her deck,
her ace in the hole.
Your father waited in the other room
sitting in the thick silence,
afraid to breathe and miss
You and your mother did all the work,
but I was there at your birth,
Standing alongside, coaching your
mother to good contractions until
I was exhausted from gritting my
teeth and pushing too.
And your dad was there, too,
but closer to the business end
so he could be the first to know the sex.
An unsolicited psychic had told us
you would be a girl,
and when your dad was told,
he sulked all day
like it was a conspiracy
between the women to produce
only other woman.
He wanted another guy,
someone to give the men the edge,
a male child.
When your mother's body could
keep you from the world no longer,
your head appeared, eyes tightly
shut and a pout on your lips.
Your dad was watching closely,
the shoulder, the belly and then
his arms flew up in the air
like he'd made the touchdown
and he cried, "It's a Boy,
I told you, I told you,"
like he and I had placed a bet.
But then he saw how much
I could love the boy child.
I'm a pretty good grandmother,
and I think we'll be good friends.