Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Doctor in the Family

This is for Lauren Carol Worth, M.D., my niece and goddaughter. Today family and friends, a tribal gathering of two distinguished ancestries (A wonderful mix -- second generation Lebanese and Syrian restauranteurs, WASPy teachers and engineers, spawn of British whalers and Quakers, Dutch Calvinists, farmers and preachers) celebrated our daughter and granddaughter as she graduates from the Wayne State medical school. She's flying out tomorrow with her mom, Gail, her father (my brother Wes) and her brother Michael to return to California, where she's starting her residency in San Diego. We are immensely proud of this smart and beautiful young woman.

It was one of those days, sitting in the shade of her maternal grandparents' congenial yard on Grosse Isle, when the years both melted away and presented themselves as something formidable. We note the absences -- especially Lauren's paternal grandmother, my mother Carol Love Worth, who would have been so moved by Lauren's accomplishments that she would have melted with pleasure. My generation -- Lauren's parents and aunts and uncles -- are becoming the elders, though the grandparent Daranys -- Joe and Elaine and Chuck and Frieda, for instance -- show inspiring fortitude and longevity. These are good people, people who've struggled and survived and continue to deliver love and support in giant portions.

And these young kids coming up -- a tableful of new doctors, a doctoral student in environmental science, a self-declared "policy wonk," a kid about to join the Peace Corps, a women's basketball star from Wayne State, and maybe most important to our communal safety, an apprentice electrician -- blow me away. They sat there eating their earth-friendly fruit and vegetables and fretting about the state of the world and pledging to do what they can to make a difference. I believe they will. Driving back north on I-75 in deepening evening sunlight, I took in the Detroit skyline and its Ambassador Bridge with renewed appreciation. The vista looked beautiful this time -- the architecture of a place that's somehow nurtured these fine children. It's time tonight to indulge in a moment of gratitude and hope.

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