Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's a Girl!!

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, tweeted early Saturday morning that she had given birth to a baby girl named Charlotte.  A plethora of congratulations are pouring in on blogs one of which, of course, is mine.  Carrying one's genes on to the next generation is, for most, a celebratory event even if those genes one day get lost in an ocean of DNA.

It is that part of carrying on one's genetic heritage to the next generation for those of us who do not have children -- at least for me -- is the part I miss. Always contemplative about such things I think most know life and raising a child in it is not all roses and daffodils.

As I watched "The Roosevelt's: An Intimate Portrait," a Ken Burns's documentary Franklin Roosevelt, the future 4-term president, was a most loved and privileged only child. But his birth into this patrician family of wealth and privilege did not shield him from life's vicissitudinous onslaughts. Tragedy struck the gifted man upon whom fate, it seemed, always had shown and devastated his once beautiful body. Polio in the extreme permanently paralyzed both his legs. I commiserated with the life's burden he was forced to bear in the prime of his life, interrupting its trajectory as it placed a Herculean detour in his hoped-for road to the presidency. 

I wish
Chelsea, her husband and the child's famous grandparents well and hope the she grows up smart, healthy and strong as even privilege carries no guarantees. Franklin Roosevelt made his lemonade out of the sour-lemon fate he was dealt.

But in the brilliant film "Ordinary People" Beth, the mother of a beloved son who was killed in a boating accident cries to her brother on a golf course of wealth when he tells her to be happy. She says to him:

"Happy? Ward you tell me what's happy? But first you better make sure your kids are safe. That none of them have fallen out of a tree, or been hit by a car, or drowned in that pool you're so proud of! Then you come to me and tell me how to be happy!"

I love that scene, for which Mary Tyler Moore should have gotten best actress because it snaps us into reality that for some life does not always bring a festive New Year's Eve joy but a long difficult journey through a mountain of uncertainly.  I wish for Chelsea's child the ability to plod on through the inevitable bramble seeking the light and the gift we are given for a very short time to see that light and all the beauty that shines through.

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