Census

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A few days ago, the U.S. Census form came in and, like the good, upstanding gal I am, I opened it and filled it out.  Person 1... Me.... Person 2... Peter.... Person 3.... Maya.... Person 4.... Bobby....  and then, it was over.  I said who we were, what we were, and then, it was done.  We were counted.  Our family did our part for the government.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks that Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander will never be counted.  They will never be a name on a Census form.  My great-great-grandchildren will never flip through old documents and see something and say "Look, there is great-great uncle Nicholas's name"...  No.  Never.

When Peter came home, I mentioned that the form came in and that I filled it out... That it only wanted the names of people who would be living in our home as of April 1, 2010.  He had the look that I'm sure I had that said they wont be counted...  We both knew it.  It hurt.  But we knew this was going to happen.  Just like we know that, when we take our photos for the parish directory, there will only be four faces and only four names, when we see our family as much larger.

Yesterday, as we were sitting on the couch, Peter softly said.  "Robert wasn't counted either."  His voice was tender and he reached out for my hand, when I began to cry, understanding what he meant.  The Census would have been conducted months before Robert was born, so he wouldnt have been a resident of the house in April 1980 (just a resident of the womb, which isnt considered...)  and, by the time the 1990 Census would have been done, he had been gone for over two and a half years.  He wasn't counted...  And yet, he lived a life no one could ignore, a life full in its youth, a life that lived on after he died.

While it was a sad thought, it made my heart hurt a little less.  My children share the company of their uncle.  And that's not a bad place to be...  Not at all...

16 comments:

K said...

Your babies count where it matters the most- but I'm sorry that it had to hit you like that. Thinking of your little ones

k@lakly said...

The government never seems to get it quite right when it comes to things like how to count a family...
we all know they were here and that they counted.
xxoo

Catherine W said...

It's heartbreaking. Although Nicholas, Sophia, Alexander and Robert may not have been counted by the Census, their lives are not ignored here. They are remembered. xo

N said...

Have you sealed it and sent it in yet? Something I learned recently is that, when they're finally allowed to be opened to the public (i.e. people can access the documents & information themselves, as opposed to reports run off of the information), people will be able to see the documents, so you can actually write things other places, to have them be known. Perhaps you could write about them there.

Trennia said...

Yes,I understand,but most importantly they are counted by us..and loved by the Lord!

paulsgirl1297 said...

Sometimes the simple things that seem so innocent hurt so much. I am with the boys and pregnant and people will ask what i;m having a boy-their response whew 4 boys u need a girl, I have A DAUGHTER ! But it hurts that the world will never know that I had her just me and a few people.

aka the Mom said...

I scrolled down your sidebar and saw the beautiful pictures of your Alexander, Nicholas, and Sophia. What gorgeous babies. They remind me of our own Bernadette. Thank you for sharing them with me. They do count.

Jenn said...

And though your little ones have thier uncle in that place, there are also playing with all of ours (families in this crazy IF world we belong to) too!

Just Breathe said...

It's so sad that something as simple as a Census has to bring you pain. I'm so sorry. We got ours. We have to include our daughter & SIL in our since they will be living here starting Saturday.

Terri said...

The govt has never been good at math. They do count. When you do your family tree- write them in. You make them known. Future generations will know that they existed. They have birth certs and death certs. They are known. And they count where it is most important- alongside Uncle Robert in Heaven with our Heavenly Father. Love, T

NancinaT said...

Oh Michele, that truly is heartbreaking. I'm 7 weeks pregnant and when I filled out my census form the other day I thought, "But doesn't this baby count? S/he is residing in this house on April 1, inside of my womb!"

On the flip side, I have done some genealogy research using past census information. A few years ago I had the opportunity to share my information with my grandfather's oldest surviving sibling. I showed her what I had and she helped me fill in some gaps about birthdates and birthplaces. I know my grandfather had twin siblings that passed away shortly after birth, and I have them in my records. But as Aunt Florence was looking over my records, she said to me, "You're missing Giovanni!!" Giovanni? I had never heard the name mentioned. Apparently my great-grandmother had given birth to another son who was also lost at a very young age. If it weren't for my great aunt, I would have never known this. Giovanni never was listed in any census. But he counts. He truly, truly counts.

Ms. J said...

I am sorry...i can totally empathtize why that would hurt :o(

Heather said...

My husband and I are finally joining the church we've attended for the past year, but before we can become members, we have to attend a class called "Welcome to the Family" which lasts 4 weeks. We are doing that now. In our first week, we had to complete a "getting to know you" form which asked how many children we had in our home. It was another one of those moments when I had absolutely no idea what to do, wanting to include Madelyn so badly, but realizing it would not be relevant to how they wanted to use the information. I hate those stupid forms. They used to be so simple.

AKD said...

Oh, Michele. My heart goes out to you. I agree with the other ladies who encourage you to definitely write about your family on there. I am sending you hugs and love.

MrsSpock said...

Do you have a family Bible with their names written in it? That's how we learned my great-grandmother lost her first 3 children. Loss was such a secret, that information was never passed down. Her two full-term stillbirths were never even recorded in county health records.

Jessica said...

The government may not count them, but know you have a community who will always recognize their existence on earth even if only in the womb.