What Did They Name Him?

For months expectant parents talk and plan and dream and wonder what the future will hold for their bundle of joy. They imagine him taking his first step, grinning with his first tooth and uttering those first words that will bring them endless joy. The "E.P.'s" write out name after name trying to settle on just the right one that will take their offspring through life with success. They say the names out loud and let them roll off their tongues to make sure it rings in such a way that when heard it will not be easily forgotten. Countless conversations ensue with excited relatives weighing out their opinions and suggestions and sometimes rolling their eyes at the sound of a name they would never choose for their perfect little loved one. The E.P's see the names as they will be written in school, on a diploma or perhaps as an author.

One thing I know.

The E.P's never asked themselves, "how will this name look on a police report? What will it sound like when they call his name in the courtroom? I wonder how it will look in print on an offenders list?"

I cannot explain the pain for this one. I have never become accustomed to this part of Cliff's life. Some people are born into the system. It seems to be a family trait to have more than one member of the family in jail. Hordes of family members come week after week to visit their parent, or spouse, offspring or sibling. Little children put on their Sunday best to make the most of the time they will have to visit the one they love.

I feel stumped by the system I've been forced to come to know and pray for the change in Cliff's life to sever this cycle which has slowly become a part of my life. I'm not a "regular" to be sure, and having to ever go to a jail or prison once is to much for me.

I weep in my own quiet moments. Sometimes I weep for me, sometimes I weep for Cliff. I always weep for the children. I weep for the fact that when Cliff was born he was given a fine name of which he could be proud.

Now I wonder, what's in a name?