Recently, I held my niece in my arms about 6 hours into her life. Weighing in at around 8 pounds, with two little hands, a little nose, and two little eyes – she is perfect.
This event marks the sixth time in my life I held a newborn baby. I was thirteen the first time, and I remember being happy finally to become an uncle. To this day, I take my niece to the movies, we have snack parties – and I also help prepare her for college since I am the first in my family to graduate from a four-year university.
As I get older, I have noticed that every time I hold one of my new nieces or nephews, I become filled with more joy than the last. Because this newest member of our family had her eyes closed, sleeping away without so much as a whimper, I thought about her future.
I can already imagine her taking her first steps and hearing her talk for the first time. I can already see her graduating high school and meeting the person she may marry. But now that I am 28 and have the experience that I didn’t when I first became an uncle, I can also see that her life will be difficult sometimes. No childhood is perfect, so I can also foresee her crying her eyes out when life doesn’t work out how she expects it. But as an American, I can already see her getting back up and fighting for herself as I know my sister will teach her. All that is in her future, even if it does not happen the same way I envision it.
Life catches up with us no matter how hard we try to shield children from the real world. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on working to build a better society. It means we should try harder to give every child a better place than we had.
When I look at society and see how deeply divided Americans believe this country to be, I hope my work helps bring communities together and that every action I take will be like throwing a pebble into a lake. I know that what may seem but a drop in a bucket will always create ripples that expand throughout society.
Whenever I act, I do it with the intent of building a more unified America because a more unified America means a better place for my family.
A new American was born, and she will not be the last. And if we all throw a pebble of unity into the lake that is America, we will create lasting effects that our families, our children and our future generations will enjoy.