My friend’s sister is expecting her first child, a little girl who’s due any day now.  Since this little girl (Atlee) and Paulie are going to be so close in age, I can’t help comparing their life situations– and the comparison makes me ache for little Atlee. 

I’ve known my friend and her sister for most of their lives.  We grew up together, more or less.  My friend has always been exceptionally mature and competent; I wish that I could say the same for her sister.  Her sister has always been incredibly immature and self-centered.  She’s in her late twenties but just never seemed to grow up all the way.  She has a steady job, I’ll give her that, but she’s lived with her parents for all of her life, with the exception of just a few months.  She’s unpredictable and, well, not the kind of person who should be a parent.  There, I said it.  I try really hard not to be judgemental, because goodness knows I am far, far, *far* from perfect, but darn it, when it comes to children, they have basic rights.  They deserve to have their basic needs met.  And I just don’t know that my friend’s sister is going to be able to do this.

Paulie has the most wonderful daddy in the world 🙂  Sure, I know I’m biased, but Sweetie is exceptionally kind, loving, giving, generous, and sensitive.  He’s already such a wonderful daddy to Paulie– he makes time for him every day, and talks and sings to him so lovingly 🙂  Atlee, on the other hand, doesn’t have a daddy at all.  Atlee’s mom has not revealed the identity of Atlee’s dad (if she knows who it is), and who knows if Atlees’s dad even knows that he’s fathered a child.  It may have been a one-night sort of relationship.  Who knows.  So not only does Atlee have a less-than-stellar mom, but she has no dad whatsoever.  I don’t say this to criticize single parenting.  No dad is always better than a horrible dad.  I just really wish that Atlee had a quality parent in her life, someone who could somewhat compensate for her mom’s many shortcomings.  I know that, at the times when I feel overwhelemed by the magnitude of parenting, by the extreme importance of it, I’m reassured knowing that I’m not in this alone.  I have a mature, competent, stable partner who will also be there for Paulie.  A partner whose heart has a special place in it just for Paulie, just as mine does.  I wish that Atlee had at least one parent like that.

I ache for my cousin’s kids, too.  I hadn’t thought about them in a long time, maybe this is just triggered by being pregnant.  My cousin is in her mid-twenties and has had three babies by a drug addict who’s had “problems with the law.”  He went through rehab, and I deeply admire him for that, but he cheated on her after he got out of rehab– oh yeah, while the kids were around.  Sorry, I don’t mean for this post to sound like a soap opera, it’s just that my heart breaks for these kids.  I wish that there were something that I could do for them.  My cousin lost custody of the first child because her life was such a mess.  The people who have custody of this child should never, *ever* be allowed around children.  I would never let them within 100 feet of Paulie.  She struggles to care for the other two on her own.  Now, I can’t say that I would have been any better of a mother had I had kids as young as she did.  I really don’t want to judge her.  But at the same time, damn it, these kids are being  hurt.  These kids are getting a sore excuse for a childhood, and I suspect that some things are going on that are definitely awful.  I want to be understanding of everything that my cousin’s been through, but damn it, once there are kids involved, you’ve just got to suck it up and grow up.  There’s no excuse whatsoever for her own pain to be transfered down to these kids.

I just wish that there were something that I could do for these kids…  I feel so helpless.  I want every child to have the love, security, consistency, and safety that Sweetie and I are able to give Paulie.