That baby

“How’s that baby doing?”, you always used to ask me . First when we sat across the table from each other week after week in meetings. Not even my growing stomach could hide my insecurities as I sat in a room full of hundreds of years of collective experience. Twenty-three years old and the only thing I had correctly figured out was that I had no idea what I was doing. Not with my life. Not with my future. Certainly not on this steering committee.

All I wanted to do was wheatpaste things. You spoke of “long arcs” and “grass roots movements” and decades of experience and memories. But mostly you spoke about the baby. Wanting to know what I would name her, what I would do for child care, and how my family would cope with being so far away.

“How is that baby?” You would ask later on when I scurried in late toting my pink carrier and dropping folders, my purse, and all that was left of my overworked mind. You wanted Boise, Idaho, and all of the world to be a place where people could live in peace and respect. You wanted social justice for everyone and you wanted it ten years ago but first you wanted to know how that baby was.

I ate with your family today. I watched them share stories, hugs, and trails of tears over couscous and cabbage. I saw how their hands supported each other when words and moments became overwhelming. I heard them invite strangers to sit with them and how they consoled those that should be consoling them. I experienced the community that you fought so hard for. And through all of that, I really just wished I could tell you how my baby is.

She is tall and strong. She doesn’t take “no” lightly. She has a sister who drives her crazy but sometimes I sneak sideways glances and catch them holding hands. She loves fiercely. She believes in kindness. She says she wants to meet you someday in Heaven.

That baby of mine is something else. I really wish that you could see her. I think she will spend much of her life in Idaho. Thanks to you, and so many other amazing people, I don’t fear that as a future for her. I know that she will find something she is passionate about, and along the way someone will be as true and kind to her as you were to me.

That is how my baby is.

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