It's a big day, people. After weeks of waiting and one too many false alarms, the Duchess of Cambridge has captivated the world's attention once again. And not with a long-sleeved, Sarah Burton wedding dress, but with the arrival of an even grander design. Yes, friends, I'm talking about the Royal Baby Watch.
It's a matter of hours (maybe minutes!) before Baby Cambridge meets the world, and somewhere between refreshing the live web stream of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital and following The Clarence House Twitter page, I had to stop myself to ask a simple question:
"Lacy, what the heck are you doing?"
I admit that I have a knack for turning small little molehills of drama into major mountains, and that I have a slight bent towards the House of Windsor (It's my Welsh ancestry, people! I have no choice but to care!) but allow me an attempt to explain (read: justify) my Royal Baby fervor.
Not only will this wee one eventually serve as the Head of State in 16 countries, but for the first time in the British monarchy's history, the ruling status is not affected by the baby's gender. Prior to this birth, if the baby was a female, her title was subject to the birth of a younger brother, who would precede her in line to the throne. (Talk about sibling rivalry!) Thanks to an amendment in 2011, Will and Kate's baby sets a major precedence as the first heir for which gender will not play a factor in his or her ability to rule. It's enough to make any woman stand a little taller.
I don't think of myself as a feminist (or any sort of "ist", for that matter), but this really excites the woman in me. It's a strong signal resounding worldwide that women are up to the task of leadership. And not just as a second-rate substitute for a man, but by and through the use of the inherent, God-given gifts she possesses. (I mean, after a Jubilee celebration for Queen Elizabeth, is anyone still arguing that a successful rule and a female ruler are mutually exclusive terms?)
Not long ago, my thinking on the topic of women in leadership hovered close to the idea that though a woman may at times be called into roles of authority, she could only do so at the expense of some part of her Imago Dei. A woman could be strong, at the expense of her vulnerability. A woman could be smart, at the expense of her compassion. A woman could command a room full of influential power-players, at the expense of her ability to notice the outcast on the margins. Influence only came at the high cost of her personhood.
Somewhere between the story of Queen Esther as the divinely-appointed abolitionist for the Jewish people and the reputation of Angela Merkel as Germany's first female Chancellor, that notion has changed. I now view vulnerability, compassion, and an eye for the least among us as attributes that are essential to leadership, not opposed to it. As I recall, there is no place in the Garden where only Adam was permitted to dwell, and it seems to me that the real mistake is not in keeping a woman out of leadership, but in refusing her entrance from the places that God intended for her to go.
So, though the baby be a George or a Victoria, this birth ushers in a moment in our human history worth capturing-a moment when being born a man is no longer a qualification for being a nation's Sovereign. In my opinion, that's a moment for watching and celebrating.
What about you? Does the Royal Baby symbolize more than a media frenzy to you? Do you share in the excitement, or are you, (not unlike The Duchess at this point!), just ready for it to be over?