I went to LAMP to look for Linda and met up with Anne, Robert, Maria, and Mr. Rice on Skid Row (The “Politically Correct” name is Central City East). They have known my daughter and I for almost 10 years. Even though I was just there two weeks ago, there was a lot of catching up to do. Everyone had to take turns feeling my pregnant belly and had parenting advice to give me.
“When that baby is born, we will come visit you for a change. You can’t bring a baby down here!” And you know what, really, that is fine with me. Having gone to visit each of them when they have been ill or in the hospital – a little turn around is fair play: I have written their names on my hospital visitor preferences.
Skid Row is no place for babies – but I contend that it is no place for adults either. So when exactly should I tell this new baby about the living conditions of some of Mommy’s friends?
“Where do Homeless People Come From” With Jackie, it was an evolving discussion – like “The talk” on where babies come from. It was natural with her because she is an exceptional person. She was the only first grader with pictures of MLK and JFK on her wall. As a toddler she would walk up to strangers and hug them, lecture about smoking being bad for their health, if my mom lost her in Toys R Us she could always be found by the Nintendos – being held by the gang members and playing video games with them (This literally gave my mom fits!), and more than once she told me she needed her Juice Box and then walked across the park to leave it with someone she saw sleeping under a tree.
“All People are Created Equal – they just don’t all live in equally nice houses“. I think that this is the approach I am going to take with the baby. I hope that he or she will not always know that there are homeless people sleeping on the streets – because I hope that workable solutions for housing everyone are found and implemented before the baby is old enough to truly understand what Jackie has learned.
What are your thoughts?