My Sister's Kids*

They are the best things that have ever happened to me.

Better than smartphones and Netflix,

than coffee and green tea ice cream,

than puppies and kittens.

My sister’s kids.


My sister’s kids

just two years old and three years old,

    Clumsy runners and frequent fallers

    Backwards readers and careless counters

    Awkward dancers and slurring singers

just troublemakers running away when they need a diaper change

    Finger-painting on chairs and tables and laptops, except it’s not paint it’s yogurt

    Stealing pens and pencils and markers to color the walls and cabinets with their doodles

    Putting charger cables and earphones and plugs in their mouths for whatever reason

just the sweetest family I could ask for

    Warm hugs and slobbery kisses

    Cute laughs and the brightest smiles

    Shared food but monopolized toys

just free

just absolutely free from concepts like race, injustice, discrimination, and inequality

    Sheltered in our loving home

    Hidden away from the rest of the world

    Oblivious to an adult’s reality


My sister’s kids

Why can’t they always be kids?


My sister’s kids

will grow up

    trip and fall.

    break a bone or two.

    stand taller.

    develop facial hair.

menstruate for the first time.

will learn

    about our country.

    about their bodies.

    about the world.

will decide

    who their friends are.

    who their enemies are.

But most importantly,

they will decide

    who they are.


My sister

My role model

My second mother

My advocate


My sister

The racist

The homophobe

The traditionalist


My sister

will always love her family

    her parents.

    her sisters.

    her husband.

    her children.


Yet I’m afraid for my sister’s kids-

The subjects of too much pressure

Pressure to meet my sister’s expectations

    to be a masculine boy

        who loves a girl.

        who continues the family name.

        who has a manly job.

    to be a feminine girl

        who loves a boy.

        who has a family.

        who has a respectable job.

    to meet Anglocentric beauty standards.

    to surround themselves with people

        who look the same as them

        who meet the same expectations as them


My sister’s kids

I want them to


        whomever they want.


whomever they want, however they want.

    Be loved

by whomever they want, however they want.


    Happily, healthily, kindly, respectfully, knowledgeably .

I want them to explore and discover.

I want them to decide for themselves.

I want them to challenge the status quo.


I want them to have people

    who respect their decisions.

    who support them.

    who challenge them.


My sister’s kids.


They should live fully.


My sister’s kids

Better than puppies and kittens,

than coffee and green tea ice cream,

than smartphones and Netflix.

They are the best things that have ever happened to me.

by Sally Tran

*This was not created by a Black or Latina woman, but pertains to The Bridge's mission.

Sally Tran