Opinion: Let Levi Johnston's Sister See Baby Tripp

Filed under: Divorce & Custody, Celeb Kids, Celeb Parents, Opinions, Celeb News & Interviews


Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin in happier times. Johnston's sister claims the Palins won't let her see the former couple's child. Credit: Getty Images


Mercede Johnston wants to see her nephew, Tripp, but his politically connected family is shutting her out -- at least that's what she says in a guest post on the blog "The Immoral Minority."


Johnston is the paternal aunt to Tripp, son of her brother, Levi Johnston, and infamous teen mom Bristol Palin (the daughter of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin).

Mercede Johnston writes that the Palin clan prevents her from seeing baby Tripp and tells of the pain that causes her. "Since Tripp's birth I can count on my two hands the number of times I have had the chance to see him," she writes. "How is that fair? My family has missed so much of his life. This simply breaks my heart!"

The Johnston family has issues, yes. There's no disputing that fact that the clan's matriarch, Sherry, was arrested on charges of selling OxyContin, and I can't really think of a single instance in which an unplanned teen pregnancy isn't met with some consternation, not to mention when Grandma is running for vice president. But preventing the child from getting to know his extended family on his dad's side is not just misguided, it's flat-out wrong.

Call me naive, but I believe that old chestnut that it takes a village to raise a child, and that village is best populated by people who are related to the kid in question. Protecting Tripp is one thing, but there will come a day when he is old enough to type his own name into a search engine and -- poof! -- Auntie Mercede's name and her words will pop up on the screen.

There will be questions. There may even be anger and hurt feelings. I grew up without a lot of contact with my father's siblings, and when it came time to bury him, a coterie of strangers showed up to hug me and look to me for comfort: aunts, uncles and cousins alike. Even as I grieved for my dad, I also grieved for the extended family I never had, and now it's too late to even ask my dad why he made that choice on my behalf.

Of course, children should not be left alone in the care of people their parents or grandparents legitimately feel could be a threat to their welfare. But it's difficult to discern any hint of malice in these words by Mercede Johnston: "One day when you are old enough I wish to pull you aside and open this box I have collected for you and show you that I have always been here. You have a card from me for every holiday that has passed since your birth, and maybe, just maybe, one day I'll be able to give you one on the actual holiday itself."

Levi Johnston and his clan may not be the Palins' ideal in-laws, but the time for looking back has passed. Keeping secrets can only cause Tripp -- and his mother and famous grandmother -- more pain and sadness in the future.

Related: Bristol Palin To Guest Star On 'American Teenager'

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.