Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I wrote earlier this week that I thought things couldn’t get any better. I don’t know whether or not things have gotten better, but they sure as hell have changed.

I got an email from my sister today. My niece Brianne is pregnant.

I don’t know how to feel. Brianne is only 18. She has no job, and she dropped out of high school. She doesn’t even really have a home – she stays with a friend. How is she supposed to raise a child? The other night I was thinking to myself: “How can she be expected to raiser herself?” and here she is raising someone else. I don’t want to criticize her terribly because I know she’s had a rough start to life. But with this pregnancy, she’s morphed from someone who’s no longer just a victim of a lousy, drug and poverty ridden, abusive system, but now she’s also a perpetrator of that system. That’s not good. It’s not okay. She’s about to bring a child into the world who faces every nearly every single disadvantage that a white, American child can face.

That being said, I’m not about to mourn the conception of my new little grandnephew or niece. The time for negativity has passed and there will be only support from me from here on out. The child will be born, as I said, into an unfair system with myriad disadvantages. But you know what? That kid’s also going to have a lifelong fan in me. I was too young to help my nephews and nieces out growing up, but this kid has my full attention and support. I don’t know what I can do right now. I’m getting information on the web that I’m going to send over. I’ll help her apply for the WIC program or whatever other kind of support is available. I have to find out all the different kinds of support available.

It’s corny to say that within each new baby there’s a ray of hope for man’s salvation. But it’s true. My little nephew or niece might grow up to save the world. And I’m going to see to it, that he or she is read to, and played with, and grows up to be happy and educated and healthy. I’m going to make it my personal goal, regardless of whatever else happens to either of us in life, that this child knows it’s loved by someone. I’m going to make sure that he or she doesn’t have to fight over every leftover scrap it needs in life. And this child, I’ll see to it, has the advantages that every child should have.

I wonder if one month in is too early to start thinking of baby names…