The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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SEATTLE, Friday—What a different point of view one can have on life in twenty-four hours. The night before last, John and Anna and I were still waiting for a baby's arrival, and no one can tell me that is ever an entirely carefree time. No matter how many times we have seen babies come safely into the world, we always think, before the event, of all the dreadful possibilities that surround all human ventures. When, yesterday afternoon, Anna was safely back in her own room at the hospital and the baby was brought in for John and Anna to inspect together, the sun shone outside. But it would have made no difference, for the sun was certainly shining in our world as far as all the people who love Anna were concerned.

I feel sure that the baby is going to grow up able to take care of himself in life, for he began at once to make himself heard and to move his arms and legs like a little prize-fighter. His shoulders are broad too, like his father's, so he ought to be able to carry burdens.

Sometimes I think one's subconscious mind shows the trend of one's thoughts even when one is not conscious. Anna kept murmuring yesterday: "So many social problems and I can't solve them," as though she were searching for the answers and could not get her mind quite focused on them. The baby was saddled at once with responsibility, for the first thing Anna said about him was: "He is so tiny now, but someday he may do something really big."

Sis and Buzz came down to see the baby in the afternoon, and were a little awed by anything which looked to them so small, even though we told them what a big baby he is. However, at supper, the baby's future status was settled. In discussing the difficulty of adding to the "John's" already in the family, Buzz suddenly remembered that Robin Hood had a Little John who was his constant companion, so he announced that he would be Robin Hood and the baby would be Little John. Anything the rest of the family may think is of little importance, for to them the question is settled.

This is one occasion when an event actually occured in the family and was telephoned to the President before the press was aware of the news. This so rarely happens that I could hardly believe it was possible. Judging from my husband's tone of voice, it gave him great joy to hear it in Warm Springs, Georgia, a half an hour after the baby's arrival, and then to be able to announce it to the press.

When you love people very much, isn't it grand to be able to join in their happiness? Like everything else in the world, however, there is a price to pay for love, for the more happiness we derive from the existence and companionship of other human beings, the more vulnerable we are when there is any cause for apprehension. It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who live generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.


(Copyright, 1939, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Seattle (Wash., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 1, 1939

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.