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New grandchild

10/06/06 12:00AM By Madeleine M. Kunin
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(HOST) A joyous personal event has given commentator Madeleine Kunin renewed hope for the future.

(KUNIN) A new grandchild has arrived.

It's a boy, slipping into the world at 12:23 pm on October 2, weighing eight pounds, eight ounces. His mother started to go into labor the day before - exactly on his due date. Does that mean he will always be on time for everything?

His cry was loud and lusty, and his skin turned bright red, when the pediatrician looked him over, moving his arms and legs to make sure everything was all right.

He was rapped tightly in his blanket as I held him in my arms, thrilled at his perfection, the rosy mouth, closed eyelids, thoughtful brow.

I have had four children and four other grandchildren, and I held each one in my arms shortly after they were born. And yet, I had forgotten the joy connected with greeting a newborn.

All the pessimism with which we burden ourselves as we think of the state of the world, suddenly dissipates.

Yes, we know the threatening prognosis for life on earth for the lifespan of our grandchildren - global warming, terrorism, war, shortages of oil, water, food, and even the possibility of nuclear annihilation.

I have dwelt on one or more of these threats at least once a day, dreading to open the newspaper; and when I do, shaking my head, sometimes in disbelief, other times in anger. But his birth reaffirms the belief that there are miracles.

This tiny new life that feels so light in my hands has arrived, just as nature intended it to. Life goes on, from generation to generation, and we continue to increase and multiply.

Yes, this warmly swaddled infant, suckling at his mother's breast, is among the most fortunate of new babies born on this day, compared to babies born in other parts of the world.

He's had good pre-natal care, he'll get his shots, and he'll receive everything he needs, including the constant and tender love and care of his parents and grandparents.

He is fortunate, but at the same time he has given us good fortune. He has been born, and we are reborn.

Reborn to believe in renewal, in optimism, in hope.

A grandchild's arrival may also give us new determination to create a better world for him, and perhaps with him.

And, with supreme effort, we may create a better world for all the babies born on this day.

Madeleine May Kunin is a former governor of Vermont.

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