Tuesday night’s election outcome was unlike any I’ve ever witnessed. I was struck by the moments of graciousness, the oneness, the powerful coming together of past and future.
I admired Senator John McCain’s concession speech, his encouragement “to bridge our differences.” I was equally impressed with Senator Barack Obama’s call to “a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.”
A defining moment in history to be sure. As uplifted as I was by the rhetoric and pageantry I had more than one or two pangs of envy when I heard talk of one day reliving the moment with grandchildren. No election would be complete if politicians and pundits didn’t talk repeatedly about the importance of leaving the world a better place for “our children” or ensuring that we create abundant opportunities and options for “future generations.”
While intellectually I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments, those expressions also chafe some. It’s one thing to know deep down that infertility robs us of many life defining experiences, it’s another to be reminded (repeatedly) that a whole host of experiences will never get passed along.
So what do I do to overcome those pangs and chafes? I remind myself that we are all in this together, that “our children” is a collective. Last night taught me that there is no more powerful feeling than being a part of something greater than ourselves.
November 5, 2008 4:11 pm
quite an historic evening. it did feel as though this moment has a life of its own, larger than any one person.
(and yes, you are absolutely right. our collective children indeed — you know the ones we pay our taxes for but don’t have to raise…)
November 5, 2008 4:58 pm
I love the new look. I’m glad to be back in the land of online so I can keep up with you.
Yes my friend, it is “our” children just as it is our planet and our responsibility. Well said.
November 5, 2008 7:03 pm
Very well said! I was proud for our future, even if I don’t have any children to include in that future.
November 5, 2008 7:12 pm
Yep, that same thought struck me too. I was thrilled to be witnessing history. But at the same time, sad, because I know there won’t be any grandchildren to tell the story to.
November 5, 2008 8:22 pm
I was working last night – listening all night to parents talk about their kids. I get it. No matter what, I am so happy that Obama won a great victory. I truly hope that he can lead your country to better things. I even had to blog about it myself!
November 5, 2008 11:07 pm
Yes, you belong to the human race, and the future is for us all, not just our own families. That’s the point of belonging to a nation, and a community.
But I understand why hearing the speeches would be hard for you.
November 6, 2008 2:48 am
You are right. What a lovely post. I’m so terribly sorry that the grandchildren you dreamed of aren’t among those whose futures our actions today are shaping.
I hope that among the many changes that will be implemented under the new administration are better access to health care, including treatment for infertility (though I know that hope is a wild dream and realize such treatments are in your past), as well as policies and programs that provide assistance to people throughout our lives when we need it, rather than assuming that someone — often, for adults, “children,” can care for us for free.
November 6, 2008 5:10 am
I hear you. I’m sorry you won’t have grandchildren to tell the story to. But, yes, we are all in this together.
I used your blog as an example on my most recent post. I hope it is respectful in the context I used it. If not, please let me know.
November 7, 2008 1:04 pm
Yes, “our” children. I only hope the parents of today can see it that way, too.
November 8, 2008 1:32 am
I hadn’t thought about that, but you are absolutely right. I must remind myself of that. Because this really is all about us being in this together.
November 9, 2008 6:13 am
Thank you, I felt the same way…not having children permeates everything in my life, still, 3 years out. It takes serious time all right.
November 12, 2008 6:23 pm
I know just what you mean, PJ. Those words, just thrown out so innocently by everyone, break my heart every single time. At lunch on election day, a young colleague told us how she’d gotten all dressed up and had a friend take a photo of her coming out of the voting booth: “To show my grandchildren,” she explained happily. While I don’t have to run out of rooms to sob in the bathroom as often anymore, it still feels like a cosmic slap in the face. Was I ever that blithe and innocent? (Well, yes I was. Five years ago. But now it feels like a lifetime since my future was stolen.)
But all that aside, you’re right. In the big picture, if we look at future generations in a collective way, it doesn’t really matter if we have literal grandchildren or not. (Except that it still does matter, doesn’t it? How do you make that go away?)