Welcoming Ella Clare

July 23, 2009 12:04:37 PM PDT
There are for all of us important moments and events we'll remember forever.

Our first kiss, where we were when (fill in the blank) was (fill in the blank again), our favorite car and what did or didn't happen in it. A big job offer or promotion. And there are life changing events that are burnished in our mind that we can conjure up in vivid living color -- remember them as if they were yesterday.

In fact, for me, it was yesterday.

Ella Clare Ritter is -- as any parent will tell you about their particular child -- like no other baby in the world. And that's as it should be.

I am not one to believe in miracles, for so many reasons. But if anything approaches miraculous, birth and a newborn's introduction to the world is the prime candidate.

I've been on both sides of this life-circle equation. I've been there for my three children's entrance, and I've walked two parents to the exit. And these five life-changing events are what are cemented in my fibers more than all the others. Combined.

I've cut the cord for my two daughters and one son. I bathed my father after he died, then dried him, dressed him in a suit, and put him in a casket - swaddling him as he had swaddled me. And each of us with no memory of the loving act. And I was there when the doctor gave my mother a shot of morphine to ease the pain, all of us understanding that it would likely end her life. It gave us the opportunity to say goodbye.

It is better on the entrance side of the fence, but equally emotional on both sides.

These are private moments, to be sure. But because of what I do, I find myself sometimes sharing them in public.

My wife, Kathleen, and I watched, along with her mother, the newscasts last night. And what a thrill to see your newborn's picture up on the screen (Click here to see the photos) -- and hear your colleagues who have become great and intimate friends -- announce the remarkable news of new life to an audience that so often hears us announce news that is often so sad and tragic.

So many of you have emailed and left messages of congratulations, and it has, I promise, been received with joy and love and appreciation.

Peace, and I'll see you in a week.

BILL RITTER


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