This past week Jon and I were fortunate enough to see our son graduate in Boston. He received a BA in bioengineering and got a job offer from CRISPR, a gene editing company that may make a slew of hereditary diseases obsolete if they manage to manipulate the DNA of, hopefully, countless, and once terminal, patients. It sounds like science fiction but it could really change the annals of medicine in this country and abroad.
I’m not going to say Will was lucky. He worked hard and has a real passion for the science.
It also makes the world in which I received my PhD look like the Middle Ages.
Looking out over the caps and gowns of the engineering school grads, and listening to the speeches that spoke of dreaming big and being bold, I couldn’t help but feel ripples of hope welling up in me. These kids will be the leaders in their field, and as a mother I didn’t feel pride so much as a form of blessing. And hope. And redemption.
From the moment you hold a newborn in your arms, you realize how fragile they are and, jaded by some of your own failures, you know that the road to success is paved with obstacles and rejections. The chance whether your kid will make it and have a life that is worthy and joyful is a chance of 1 in 20, maybe 1 in 100, and while Will still has to prove himself in the working world and the promising career that lies ahead of him, he’s on the right track. Kudos to Will!
A graduation can’t be more symbolic. It’s the moment when parents let go more definitively. As the young bird flies out of the nest to never return, you cheer them on but also feel the evanescence of your own life. As their career begins for real, you’re in the sunset days of your own career and it is a bittersweet moment.
After hugging Will and his beautiful Lily on a rainy and dark street corner in Cambridge, Jon and I then took off to Chicago. Caroline majors in Comedy Writing and Performance and she had an extremely inspiring semester at Second City, the talent stable for Saturday Night Life and many greats in comedy in this country.
Caroline had been telling us about her classes and how much she had learned from the different teachers who have all worked or still work in the industry. The end of the semester had to result in a showcase of their work, written and produced by themselves.
Immersed in rehearsals and material they had been refining in the last few weeks, Caroline tried to tamper our expectations, downplaying the quality and comedy of the show, but when we sat down in a packed theater for two hours of fun, we roared with laughter: the writing was original and fresh, the comedy was superb, and the talent simply sparked off the stage.
As I told Caroline this morning, the Second City stage is small and the props are minimal so these kids have to create stories out of nothing, but boy when a scene turns into a world of its own, you forget about the bare stage and the lack of props. You go on an imaginative journey that takes you out of the here and the now.
And the kids took risks. Edgy, zany and pushing boundaries, they dared to be vulnerable and authentic and it was so refreshing to watch. Kudos to Caroline and her daring, funny peers!
In the background, in the real world, there has been a slow-moving coup of Team Trump, propped up by a bunch of GOP brownshirts, who, in cahoots with the Russians are dismantling our Constitution and American democracy as we know it. The man in charge, whose Trump building overshadowed our hotelroom in downtown Chicago, is the opposite of the raw talent, honesty and authenticity of the kids I saw at the graduation in Boston and Second City in Chicago.
As #BillionDollarLoser was trending on Twitter with the breaking news of Trump’s tax dodging and scandalous business losses, many in this country still don’t see that the emperor has no clothes. This fat Nixon, this constipated yam of a man is not just a criminal and a traitor but an evil swamp creature whose atrophied brain is the very opposite of the promise and brilliance of the kids I saw in Boston and Chicago.
People who bet on him seem to be kicking a dead donkey who can no longer pull America’s wagon (if he ever did). The GOP might try to kick a little harder to win time and obstruct justice, but this dead donkey is now lying by the side of the road, and no matter how hard they kick, DONkey Trump can’t even produce a single, dry fart or tweet that is worth staying up for.
In the meantime, we have a generation of young talent in the greenroom, ready to make their mark on the world, but we, their parents, have one more job to do and that is clearing the stage. The Trump Show ain’t over yet, but they have covered the stage with colon blow and insulted, divided and alienated the audience. They want to own the show (and make lots of moola), but you’re only entitled to owning the show if you are truly willing to run it for the benefit and sake of the people.
Someone needs to step in and pull the curtain, or else they might just burn down the house and waste all this talent that is waiting in the wings.
The next generation will make us forget about this dark episode but they need a clear playing field instead of daily dumpster fires. The next generation deserves it. They are the best and the brightest.
Enough is enough.
Start those impeachment hearings already.