In Providence: Dolores

They were eating dinner at Dolores and talking about where they would move if Biden lost the election.

“The baby was coming the following month, and we didn’t know what this country would look like for people like us if we had another four years like the four we just had.”

Both of them have done extensive work with immigration law and fighting alongside non-profits, but as much as they were up to fight the good fight, their impending parenthood was making them reconsider their plans for the future.

“I don’t want to make it sound like it would be so easy for us to get up and go, but you don’t want to be those people in the horror movie who don’t know when to get the hell out of the house. I don’t know if people in this country knew how bad things really could get if this President was given the go-ahead. We were hearing talk that was making us go home at night after work and– My wife would stop me sometime and tell me we had to talk about something else, because it was getting her upset and that’s not good for the baby.”

Her sister is living in Montreal and they talked about going up there and starting a new life. But there was the guilt of being lucky enough to have that option, no matter how difficult it would be. They were fighters. That was their nature. But how much of a difference could two people make? And what about fighting for their child and what was best for her?

“It makes a difference that we were having a girl. It makes a difference that we were having a girl who is mixed race. You see the psychological effects growing up in this country has on children. Is there a way to mitigate that? You have to ask these questions.”

They weren’t even sure they wanted to have children, and then one day at work, she felt sick and realized she was late. Two pregnancy tests later, and they were transitioning their conversations from career ambitions to baby names.

“We were ecstatic. That’s the best word for it. Ecstatic. The fear of what it means raising a child in this world didn’t start until the final trimester. I don’t know why. It became more real all of a sudden. We’re going to have a baby. We’re going to have a baby right now. What does that mean? People talk about bringing babies into the world. I used to laugh at that. People brought babies into the world during World Wars and back when dinosaurs were roaming the Earth. Why should doing it now make any difference? But once you pack that hospital bag, you start to ask yourself different questions about what kind of parent you can be once this baby gets here. You should ask those questions before — way before — but it doesn’t always work that way.”

Dolores had become their favorite place for a night out, so when they knew they had one more chance to get dressed up and be the couple that doesn’t need a babysitter, that’s where they wanted to go.

“I think she brought it up. Could we go live with her sister? Is that something I would be willing to do? I could see she was panicked. She doesn’t panic. I’ve never seen her nervous like that. It made me say I would do whatever she wanted to do. To be having that conversation in 2020, it’s unbelievable to me. We were trying to enjoy ourselves, but I could tell she had been thinking all this over for a long, long time.”

On Saturday, when the election was called for Biden, their two-month-old had just woken up from a nap and was crying so loudly, they almost didn’t hear their phone ring.

“I see the texts — It’s over. It’s over. I had been following the news, but it still felt like– Can we really believe this? Can we be happy? Finally? Some good news?”

As the hours went by, and they took calls from colleagues and made calls to friends and family members, they noticed a new energy present in each other.

“It might have been an old energy. You know what’s crazy? I met her at the end of 2016. We got married in 2019. Now we have a baby. Our whole lives have been under this administration. We only know each other as people living in this country the way it’s been. I am so excited to love each other and live together in another way. It feels so good.”

They’re planning on letting his mother watch the baby so they can go out and celebrate. Maybe another dinner at Dolores. This time without any heavy conversation. There’s still fighting to be done, but there’s an opportunity to breathe a little as well. Before I let them off the phone, I ask if this will make them think about having another kid.

“Let’s not get crazy. I still haven’t slept in two months.”

He laughs.

“But, you know, anything’s possible. That’s the feeling I have.”

That feeling seems to be everywhere these days.