My daughter skims the photo album, pointing to a chubby toddler’s face with her index finger.
“Is that Adelaide?”
“No,” I say. “That’s your granny.”
But she’s on to something. The resemblance is uncanny. Strip the photo of its sepia tone, trade the black bob for red curls and switch the smocked dress for a romper from the Baby Gap, and they could be twins.
We’re browsing through the old albums together, my mom, my daughter and I. There are no gaps between us. As my mom lifts Adelaide into her arms and kisses her on the cheek, I see a glimpse into how she used to hold me as a toddler.
“She’s just like you,” she says to me. “She’s just as smart and stubborn.”
I know she really means that she’s just like us. I know those fiery teenage battles I once waged against my mom will be waged against me in the not-so-distant future. But for now, I hold my breath and relish in Ada’s toddlerhood, drinking it in.
Adelaide gets bored with the photo books and pushes them aside. She goes to grab a picture book, toddling off on surprisingly sturdy legs. “Now this one” she says as she plops onto my mother’s lap, looping an easy, chummy arm around her.
How do you explain this feeling? My daughter sitting on my mom’s lap, reading Where the Wild Things Are just as I had some 30 years earlier. My mother still knows the words by heart, and glances at me as she recites them. Ada wiggles, perpetually restless. “You know,” my mom says to her. “Your mom always knew how to throw a wild rumpus.”
Adelaide points to me. “That’s my mommy,” she says.
“Yes. And I’m her mommy.”
Adelaide shakes her curls in disbelief. “No. You’re granny.”
My mom laughs and hugs her closer, picking up where she left off. “Please don’t go. We’ll eat you up, we love you so.”
The moment is like looking into mirrors held up against each other, an endless reflection of past and future, perched simply on a Sunday afternoon.
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