The loss of Senator Ted Kennedy is sad news, and there's certainly not much I can add to the public tributes about his life and accomplishments. But in googling around for news this morning I came across this photo of a very young Teddy with his oldest brother Joe. And that's when I realized: one of the reasons I've always felt an odd kinship to Ted Kennedy is that he was, like me, the "baby of the family." The baby of a big, Irish Catholic family, to be specific. Though they were 9 kids and we were 6, though they were rich and famous and important and us, um, not so much, though he lost too many siblings too young and me one (one too many), I've always felt a connection. When you're the youngest child in a big family, you often wonder how you'll find your way, how you'll measure up, how you'll make your own mark. And -- I hesitate to admit this because it might sound too morbid -- you often wonder what it will be like if you're the last one left. While in this case it turned out that Teddy wasn't the last one left, the baby of the family certainly did figure out dramatic ways to make his own mark on the world. RIP.
image credit: JFK Library, "Edward M. Kennedy with his brother Joseph P. Kennedy in Palm Beach Florida, December 1939/January 1940."