Since mid-November it has been pretty difficult to feel optimistic about the immediate future of the country, something exacerbated by the realization that the electoral college will be voting to day, making real what seemed a bad dream.
Not withstanding that, there is something that still gives me a great deal of optimism - our children. Counting extended family, we have been able to welcome in five new members this year and watched a couple more grow into their first year: Daisie, Ari, Cooper, June, Mila, Gabriel and Caroline.
They literally come from the corners of the country Seattle, Buffalo, Tennessee, California, Illinois. Facebook certainly has it downsides, but being able to look at their faces coming from all of these different directions and seeing the joy that they have brought into so many lives gives me hope that when they adults, they’ll be able to break down barriers and see themselves not as fans of particular football team, cheerleaders for a certain state or inhabitants of a particular country but as members of the world. I’d love to think that by the time they are grown Daisie, June or Caroline could actually be elected president of the United States, that gender, race, ethnicity, class and religious belief will no longer be barriers to equality, neither legally nor in our minds. Of course, John Lennon thought the same thing back when he wrote “Imagine” 45 years ago, but having been brought up in the 60’s I still have some residual idealism left in me. We all hope that our children will be better people than we are, or perhaps more accurately, take what is best from us. I have to laugh every time I read the first few lines of Phillip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse:”
They fuck you up, your Mum and Dad
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they have
And add some extra, just for you.
It’s basically true. Still, as we are about to head into another year, I am hoping that “the angels of our better nature” can still prevail. It may not be through us, but through our children. We are so lucky to have these seven fledglings to our family with us as we turn the last page of this year’s calendar and head into the future.