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Passing the Baton

(by Cherie Burns)

My daughter, Jessie, is pregnant. Her first baby is due in a few weeks. I live in New Mexico, and she lives in New York, and we made lots of plans to be together during the coming months so I could help with the newborn and some housekeeping, especially cooking. She made me promise to make meatloaf, a family favorite. But now, with Covid-19 cases likely to peak during that time, all plans are changed, and of course, babies don’t cancel. I am sorely disappointed (more like heartbroken) that I will miss the birth, but I hope we can see one another on our phones and computer screens until we can be together. The meatloaf is another story.

Jessie has never been much of a cook. She can cook, but she doesn’t make time for it. When she came back from camp in her teens, she bragged that she could make a cherry cobbler on an open fire, but I have never seen this in practice. She always had homework, social plans, and achievement on her mind. Once when I was recovering from a small surgery (she was ten years old), I asked her to heat up the take-out wonton soup in a plastic container in the refrigerator. As I lay in bed smelling burning plastic, I realized that she had done exactly what I told her. I had failed to mention pouring the soup into the pan first. She was literal minded, and that has served her well.

Up to now, while in college, graduat