My Daughter is a Rough Draft Grandchild

But what if your mother dies before you ever have a chance to meet her? Don’t you want to know your story?

He wasn’t sure, because not knowing meant being able to imagine anything. Decades ago, his mother had felt him growing within her own body, then held him in her arms as he took his first breath, before giving him away forever.

He was adopted by a good family, a family who could send him away to sail camp every summer and throw money at whatever problems he was having at school.

Except when he was around seven years old, he overheard his father arguing with his mother about whether they should hand their problem child back to the adoption agency. His mother would get into trouble for calling him “son.”

His eyes teared up when relating this story. Maybe I shouldn’t be pushing him to find his biological mother… 


But then we had our own child. His flinty eyes, who rarely met anyone else’s, softened every month that my belly grew bigger… finally melting into our beautiful daughter’s face as he held her in his arms for the first time. He was a father. He never knew the world could feel anything like this.

He began looking for his mother.

It took over a year, but he finally found her.

She hadn’t expected to ever hear from him again, but had always thought about him on his birthday.

She told him all about being a naive college student who’d started dating a handsome boy who pressured her into going all the way before dumping her.

It was the South in the late 1960’s. Her mother was a society woman and her father, a deeply-religious, Conservative pillar of the community. There were senators in the family. When her parents found out she was pregnant, she was whisked off to a relative’s house for an extended impromptu vacation.

And when she’d returned, no one was the wiser. She went on to marry and have another son.

A son who needed the news about his older brother broken gently before they could meet. The son was getting married, you see, and his new wife was pregnant.

Not just a mom, then, but a new brother and nephew. We all become Facebook friends, though I wonder whether his biological mother’s friends have any clue who we are.

My daughter looks into her father’s eyes and squeezes his finger with her tiny hand. He’s baffled to find out he comes from people so religiously, politically, and ideologically  different than him.

It bothers him a lot, though I can’t help wondering if he’d have thought exactly like they do if he’d been brought up on the other side, or whether they’d be the type of family always getting into dinner-table arguments.

It seems to eat at him, but I remind him that blood relatives have opposing political views all the time. The different politics don’t bother me so much.

The way his biological mother gushes on and on about his infant nephew bothers me more.

Especially the way she calls him her first and only grandchild.











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