Monday, December 19, 2011

Cynicism Can Suck It: Day Two

The baby is happy on his back on the bed, with a stream of people ebbing in and out of the room, picking him up, kissing his nose, and lightly squeezing his little stockinged feet between their fingers. In a big family like this one, Daquan is passed from the arms of one sibling to another, each taking on the role of caregiver without complaint. When not with Portia Hyman, he can be found on the porch with his grandmother or up in the girls’ bedroom.

Dion Johnson, 9, steals a moment alone in his mother’s room with his elbows on the bed, his face cradled in his hands. He seems mesmerized by the face of his littlest brother.

“Dion even tries to make Daquan’s bottle,” says Portia. “He’s such a little man.” That children even as young as Dion would take part in raising their younger siblings is commonplace in this large family. “The older ones are always looking out for the younger ones. They help raise their brothers and sisters. We help one another out.”

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