Choices

This evening I was sitting in the waiting room at a very full pharmacy, and across the room from me there was a little boy uttering frequent ear-piercing shrieks of unabashed delight. He was about a year old, and was playing happily with a teenage girl I originally assumed was his sister. A middle-aged woman, I assumed she was their mother, and another boy, also in his early teens, were with them. As I watched them, it became increasingly clear to me that the teenagers were, in fact, the baby’s parents. They were playing with him and caring for him, doing a great job of keeping him occupied; not an easy thing for an active kiddo in a room full of things and people he wasn’t allowed to play with.
Often our first instinct is to judge the mistakes of teen parents, but in this instance I found myself admiring the courage of a very young couple, obviously doing everything they could to give their child a good life. This week I heard the argument that children born to impoverished, unwed mothers would be better off aborted to save them from a life of pain and want. This young girl probably heard the same argument. She almost certainly had to put off school, faced name-calling and judgment from her peers (and likely their parents!), but she decided to raise her child. Not only that, but the young man with her had stepped up and done his part. I don’t know many teenage boys who want to be less than about ten feet from a baby.
Now, I just saw a tiny snippet of these kids’ lives. I don’t know their names, I don’t know if my assumptions are even correct, but what I saw, what I chose to see, was noble and self-sacrificing. I saw a young family with a chance to beat the odds. And in the end, it’s what we choose to see that really defines who we are.

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