The numbers game

My friend Nancy called. She does that sometimes.

“I have news,” she said.

“Who’s pregnant,” I asked.

It is a fair question. In the past 10 years, Nancy has spent her time trekking up and down the east coast. In the beginning, her trips were all about weddings and showers for her four children. After the honeymoons and the exchanges of all the “I dos,” she focused on helping the new couples move into apartments and townhouses and houses.

It is only natural that Nancy’s attention transitioned from celebrating the adventures of newlyweds to anticipating the births of grandchildren. And she’s a young hip grandmother—the kind who is often greeted with, “Grandchildren? You are kidding?! You are way too young to be a grandmother.”

On the day I posed my “Who’s pregnant?” question, my friend—her grands call her “Mams”—boasted six grandchildren with one on the way. Three—girl, boy, girl—belong to her eldest son and his wife. Her second child and her husband claim responsibility for two boys. Her thirdborn and her husband have one boy and a baby on the way.

My friend is organized in all matters of life. Even her children plan their children in order. That’s why guessing that another grandchild is on the way was easy; guessing the benefactor is her youngest son and his wife was a no-brainer.

Nancy confirmed my suspicions and then said, “And that’s not all.” Her smile reached me via the cellular waves that carried it.

My mind raced. That’s not all?

What more good news can my friend possibly have to share in one phone call. She’s eighteen months younger than me, looks like a model, and will soon bask in the love of eight grandchildren. I can’t begin to compete with that.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my two granddogters and my one grandcatter. I do.

“Someone else is pregnant?” I said. “Who is left?”

“Lily,” said Nancy. Lily is the wife of son number one. They are the parents of the girl-boy-girl combination.

“Lily?” I repeated in Myna Bird fashion.

“Yes,” said Nancy. “And that’s not all.”

Times like these are when I say, “Lord help the people.” Had the situation been reversed, Nancy would have said, “Lawsy day.” But she was on the knowing end of this continuous riddle.

“Lily’s having twins,” said my friend.

In this case, what could I say? Yes, “Lord help the people”–again. I should have said, “Lord help the couple.”

Check out the equation. Number one son and his wife add ? and ? to their existing girl-boy-girl, and the sum equals five, as in five children. When our conversation started, Nancy had six grandchildren with one on the way. Within three minutes, she put herself in a position to squeeze the cheeks of 10 grandchildren before year’s end.

Funny thing is, and I do mean funny, this kind of situation is not new to my friend’s family. A little more than a few years ago, Nancy’s older sister gave birth to three girls and followed up that act with twins—a boy and girl.

I happen to know that one boy—Jack—who grew up surrounded by four sisters. He turned out first-rate. And if the current lone boy in this existing twin situation remains the only boy, I know his Uncle Jack will help him out.

When it comes to having children my mother often said, “Have two or four. Don’t stop at three.” Of course, I did not heed Mom’s advice. I am the proud mother of three—girl-girl-boy.

The advice is altogether different in my friend Nancy’s family: “Have three or five.” In other words, if you don’t stop with three, you’re going to have five.

Commentary Friends & Family

VievesVine View All →

writer, blogger, columnist

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Engaging! Hilarious! Wonderful! I try to reply by clicking on the link above your blog, but it doesn’t work. Just want you to know how much I enjoy and look forward to your blogs. They all reveal a wondrous you!

    Sent from my iPhone



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