I've been on baby-watch for the past two weeks.
My son and his wife are expecting the first grandson, on both sides of the family.
This highly anticipated baby will come into a world that may not recognize him as a mixed heritage little boy. They may overlook his mother's Choctwa/Cherokee and German heritage. His future teachers may miss the uniqueness of his father's mixed heritage that is being black in America. They may not catch the subtle hues of the Creole in me that is in him or the ruddy redness of his ScotsIrish heritage from my father's side and my ex-husband's father's side. The world will see a little black boy.
So I watch and wait.
And hope for change.
Like the little twelve year olds of mixed heritages that were naming off their identities like one checks off the school supply list. None of them were just "one thing." All of them would be identified as "black" except for two. All of them were a range of milky white to dark chocolate. All of them promising.
Which brings me to the matter of justice and babies.
Like my daughter-in-law, we are prepared for the baby. The baby shower is over and done, the gifts put away, the crib ordered and put up, the house arranged, the dog baby trained. She has taken care of and nurtured this growing child in her body for exactly forty weeks, as of today.
And the baby is not budging.
Just like justice, we may be prepared and have been preparing for the day when it comes to make things right and whole. Like the day when a black girl is not murdered in her jail cell and it deemed a suicide over a missed turn signal while changing lanes. Or the day that a 3-year-old boy is shot or the night when young black women do not meet an untimely death. Perhaps, like babies, it will come in the night when the body triggers the right hormone to set things in motion.
Or, like my grandson, it will be helped along.
That is the case with justice.
The arch is indeed long in bending.
We have bent and some have broken in changing minds, hearts, wills, and laws to say that Black Lives Matter should not make the rest of the world upset that the always-focused-attention turns to the one in most need.
Just like my daughter-in-law.
We were there for a week when we received the call on a rainy Wednesday night that she had been having contrations for four hours. She had been at the doctor the day before and they said she was at a 1. I've had babies and have gone from zero to launch within hours.
I rushed the family to get the car loaded, my husband dutifully gased it up and put cash in our hands, we set out after midnight for the 3 1/2 hour drive to meet my grandson.
Great anticipation swept over me as I navigated the rainy night. Thoughts of the next generation, mentally sending her encouragement to do what centuries of women have done.
Only to get the call that they were sending her home.
Disappointment swept over me as I stood still not knowing if I should go forward or go back. What do we do when what we have most hoped would happen has stopped us in our tracks?
Like justice, we move forward, hit a block, have to decide to keep pushing forward, or concede and go back?
We kept going, knowing that eventually, that baby was coming out.
Thankful for the work-write-at-home life that lended flexibility to my schedule, we pushed forward. We took up residence with family that recently relocated to the city and waited it out.
The family took the daughter-in-law walking and walking and walking. No baby. We kept motion going.
We rested, got another call to go to the hospital. She was creeping forward to now 1.5cm and 50% effaced. Showing signs that something was happening, even if watching the ticking made the seconds seem like hours and progress seem invisible.
She was sent home again.
A river of tears of exhaustion and disappointment pours out of her, streaming down her face, turning her red through sobbed whispers of "I'm so tired, and I'm so sorry you had to come all this way."
I hugged her and told her it would happen when it was supposed to. The blessing was that I was able to be there, that flexibility allowed it to happen.
We went to dinner and decided that we would stay a few more days. Surely the baby would come by Tuesday.
Sunday turned to Monday turned to Tueday and still no baby.
No progress, nothing. A decision had to be made.
Again, like justice, we can wait it out or we can do some things to help it along.
The family packed up and drove back the 3 1/2 hours home to attend to some matters on the homefront. The couple-to-be continued to wait it out. She slept and gave her growing-beyond-options body a chance to rest for the ardous work of delivery that was surely ahead of her.
Wednesday turned to day after day to the last doctor's appointment, today, Tuesday, the baby's actual due date. She is a 2cm. And the baby is taking his sweet time to prepare to enter a world that may not be welcoming to him, a place that is challenging his white identified family to love and nurture this baby who will be black identified in a world that will love him until his cuteness wears off and fear sets in.
Unless justice happens and peace follows.
We have a date now, a time set, she will be helped along on Thursday, a baby should be here on Friday.
Like babies, justice has to have some direction and action to make it come when it is supposed to come, when we are ready to do the hard labor, to work to make it happen, to nurture the life on the other side.