You are 11 and 1/2 months old! The podcast title, “The Longest Shortest Time” perfectly sums up this time of life: When I see newborns I can’t believe you were once that small; but at the same time, I feel like you were born yesterday.
You think you are talking to everyone. You point and babble and nod. You throw things down when you don’t want them: food, cups, toys, kitchen tools—you don’t discriminate. You get around everywhere by crawling. It is no longer army style, but often with one foot turned outwards. Pulling yourself up everywhere is old news, and you use your new toy walker to get around now. It’s a glimpse into what walking will be like! You maneuver around toys and boxes, pivoting as you make quick work of our studio. You laugh as you chase us around.
Your dad bought you a plastic baseball bat for ages 4+ awhile back, and I must admit: You love it! Mostly you just like to swing it back and forth. You love playing with balls. In fact I think ball (baa) is your first word.
You recently started handing me books, and you wait for me to start reading them to you! Your attention span for them varies, but I’m so excited that I can read to you now.
I think about you and your happy-go-lucky innocence often. It is in stark contrast to the recent, tragic events that continue to take place in our country and world. Your world is filled with people who love and care for you and are able to provide for your needs. If something happens, there are many support systems in place and people to fall back on. By chance you were born a white male, living an upper middle class life. This alone will automatically make life easier for you, and as your mother I want you to have every opportunity–BUT not at the cost of other people who, for no reason other than they way they look or the different circumstances they were born into, will not be perceived or treated the same way.
When the time comes, I hope I can teach you about injustice and privilege and inequality and sexism and racism in ways that are meaningful and genuine and true. There are many ways I have failed to understand how I contribute to the problem. I am no expert. I often find myself retreating to what feels familiar and comfortable. I hope you will learn from my mistakes. I hope you use your voice to make a tangible difference for those–by no fault of their own–who do not have the same privileges as you.
Already I worry about where you will go to school. I worry that sending you to a “good” school in our area will contribute directly to the problem of de facto segregation in our country. I worry your world will be too small at school like this. I worry that sending you to another school will set you back because it won’t have as many resources. I worry your world will be too big at a school like this. At the same time, I realize I am privileged to even be able to worry about such things. Many people have no choice when it comes to where their children will go to school.
Jack, this is a heavier post than normal for a monthly update—all 2 to 3 that I’ve done! And maybe part of it is that as you approach your first birthday, I realize that you will not always be mine to hold. I’m sure many parents/caregivers share this same sentiment; however, some of them have much more to fear as their children grow older. Jack, I pray you will notice this injustice and not rest in indifference.