Newly elected President, Joe Biden, brings fresh hope for our embattled democracy. However, our government is still being threatened by right wing thugs. The Covid-19 pandemic rages on, as the death count rises above four thousand per day. People are out of work and standing in food lines. The capital building was ransacked by Trump supporters. Washington, D. C. became like a war zone to protect participants during the inaugural ceremony. Trump left the White House in disgrace, while still claiming he’d won the election. His second impeachment is underway. Amid all this fear and foreboding comes the announcement that two new babies will join our family this year.
Part of me is overjoyed by the thought of my first great-grandbaby. Another part of me fears for what this child and others will experience growing up. The world is a dangerous place for an adult, much more so for a child. However, our family has not welcomed a new baby in twenty years, so this is long overdue. I am quite ready and thrilled by the thought.
This new Macurdy child will be very lucky. He, or she, picked excellent parents. Both are well educated successful lawyers. Both are beautiful people with good values and sound judgment. I speak of my oldest grandson, Andrew, and Ellen, his bride of one and a half years. They are over the moon with joy. I share their excitement and wish them well.
I am known as Grandma Pattie. If anybody is having a baby, I will happily be its Grandma. I even have two Chinese grandchildren in Hangzhou, China. Three years ago when Peng was doing research as a visiting scholar at the University of Florida, he and his wife, Wenxia, came to my home every Saturday afternoon to practice their conversational English. Soon, they were like family, and we stayed in touch by WeChat after they returned to China.
Last year, WenXia and Peng asked me to suggest an English name for their newborn baby boy. I chose Noah and they liked it. I had previously chosen an English name, Cici, for their four year old daughter. This very bright child spoke English with me via WeChat and calls me Grandma Pattie. I hope her little brother, Noah, will do the same. Read more about this family in Sunsets and Buzzards, Chapters titled “It Started with Wenxia” and “Naming a Chinese Baby.” When grown, these children will read in their American history books about 2020 – 21, the tumultuous time of Trump and the pandemic.
Julie, “my other daughter,” sent me a message recently announcing her daughter’s pregnancy and saying “You’re going to be a Grandma!” That baby is expected in late May and is said to be the size of a bunch of endive. Andrew’s and Ellen’s baby is due in late August and is only the size of a blueberry. My obstetricians never spoke to me in such a colorful way, but that was a different century. See more about Julie in Sunsets and Buzzards, Chapter titled “Julie, My Other Daughter.”
Because these children, born in very troubled times, will have excellent parenting, they will most likely grow up to be good citizens who vote for sensible leaders or become sensible leaders themselves. I hope that in twenty years there is still a democratically governed United States of America in which they can function. A number of right wing extremists are trying to destroy our system which they don’t trust due to misinformation and lies spread by Trump.
My apologies for throwing a wet blanket on all this joyous baby news, but I am very concerned about the future of our democracy. I just heard that seventy-four percent of Republicans don’t believe Joe Biden legitimately won the presidential election. Our country is seriously divided and poised for civil unrest, or war. I worry about all of us, but especially my precious new great-grandchild and other new babies.
Forgive my pessimism. I am homebound and perhaps watch too much news. I also have seen many changes in my ninety-one years, not always for the better. It seems humanity and common decency have not improved during my lifetime. Poorly informed, angry citizens are too willing to believe lies and conspiracy theories put forth by corrupt, power-hungry leaders.
I will let you know when Andrew’s and Ellen’s baby reaches the size of a peach or an eggplant, and it will be obvious that I am eager to meet this little person. We will have much to talk about. You will hear more about these pregnancies and the hopefully improving state of world affairs as we go through the year. For now, you know my feelings as of mid to late January 2021. Now, at least we have a sane and rational president, so we can hope for a safer world for our new babies.
(This January report was postponed a month to protect the pregnancy secret.)