So this little guy is my brand-spanking-new baby brother, Jace Anthony.
He was born exactly two weeks ago on August 28th, at 3:09am, weighing in at 6lbs, 10oz.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been nothing but bubbles every time someone said the words “baby,” “babe,” or even “cute.” Ever since I stood next to my mom, helping the doctors hold her legs up as she did this insane feat of pushing out a whole tiny body from inside her, I’ve just been in a state of awe. Of course I’ve been very aware of how pregnancy and birth works. Of course I’ve seen it happen on TV plenty of times, and when I was about 12 I even watched my aunt give birth to my cousin. I’m not new to the idea of pregnancy, or siblings, or the importance of human life.
But seeing it up this close, with someone so important to me… goodness, I felt like it was my child. I felt tears and pride and joy, and I wanted to just hug the little bloody boy and hug my exhausted mom and hug my silly little sister and hug the focused doctors but all I could do was stand there, kind of frozen, while the magnitude of what just happened really settled upon me.
A person was born. Not a fetus, not a parasitic life form, not a little thing that may or may not have coherent thoughts and is completely dependent on us. At 3:00am on August 28th, he was a lump in my mother’s stomach–a part of her. But by 3:09 he was his own entity. Jace is a growing, breathing, learning human, who is going to be 20 years old one day, just like me. He lives in this world, and he’s going to have feelings and desires and ideas and opinions.
He lives in this world.
And that is when I feel less incredulous and more sickened.
This world, where our leaders have to vote about whether one couple of grown adults who say they’re in love should have the same rights as another couple of grown adults who say they’re in love. This world, where people tell women who’ve been raped that the fault lies with them. This world, where a young man can be killed for simply looking “suspicious,” and the man who killed him ends up free. This world, where something as irrelevant as genitals can determine how much money a person makes in any given career.
This is the world my new, impressionable, helpless baby brother was born to. And I honestly wonder: is Jace ever going to be 20 years old one day, like me? Or will the horrors of this world end him first?
Thoughts like these make me wonder if it’s out of pure selfishness that I want children. It makes me wonder what kind of person would actually plan to bring a person into a place this hellish.
But honestly, I think it comes down to hope.
When I think about my future, about having children, I have so many hopes. I hope it’s with my husband. I hope it’s with the man I’m currently in love with. I hope it’s a healthy child, I hope it’s an intelligent child, I hope it’s an attractive child. I hope we have a whole, happy family. I hope my child lives a long, full life, and that I’m around for most of it to teach and watch. I hope we have a stable income, and live comfortably, even more comfortably than I did growing up. I hope none of the things that plague me about my past happen to my child. And, whenever I read a news story that disgusts me or think about a person who ruins my day or hear about the terrible things that people I care about have endured, I always hope that there will be change.
I hope that things will get better. I hope that we continue to grow as a species, as we’ve been doing for so long. And I hope that, by the time I bring forth life, whether it’s planned or not, the world will be a tiny bit less terrible of a place to grow up in. And I hope that I’m capable enough to guide my child through the mire that remains, and equip them with the tools needed to become an independent, knowledgeable, understanding person. One who is prone to deep consideration, who makes convictions, and who can forge a path when none of the others are suitable. I hope my child will be able to make it in this place.
So that’s what it’s all about. Every time we think about the future, whether it be our own or later generations, we really only have hope to cling to. And it’s that hope that makes us continue when our eyes are blinded by the harshness of reality, when our chests are being crushed under the weight of our problems. It’s what makes us believe things can be different, and what instills that determination inside of us to be the ones to make that difference. It’s what drives us, when we don’t even know where we could possibly go.
Where would we be without hope?