With the holidays finally coming to a real close, it is time to recap our annual trek back home to the Pride of the Prairie. This year, of course, was the first year we had an infant in tow, which provided surprisingly little challenge. Hadley was never the problem on the trip in either direction. More than anything, I was the problem, if you could imagine!
Coming off a week of feeling progressively worse at work, Friday evening brought an even more daunting feeling of illness, not to mention the fact that the multiple windows of our house began leaking just before we were leaving. So, our departure was delayed, I got even less rest in anticipation of the non-stop drive, and my demeanor was foul to be sure. I was certainly not up for my normal load of miles, leaving the bulk on the shoulders of Ali and Keri. Combine this with the fact that we had to stop more frequently for baby feedings, the drive was taking longer than it ever had when we finally collapsed into an Indiana hotel room late Saturday night. The blessing of this was that immediately after we pulled our necessary gear out of the rental and into the room all the inclement weather we would have faced passed over us while we slept comfortably in beds. Morning came, and we tripped across the rest of northern Indiana, arriving in Chicago late Sunday morning just in time for the Bears beatdown on the surging Packers.
Thus began a week of Happy Hadley Days. No longer were the traditional holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s, fully recognized they were eclipsed by a whole new celbration, Happy Hadley Days. They began before Christmas Eve and carried almost to New Year’s Eve, but we had to leave on the 30th. During this stretch, an outsider would have thought that our child was an Egyptian Pharaoh with all the loot that was piling up for her. We were lucky to stuff everything in the rented minivan for the return trip. Mind you she arrived with the largest suitcase of any of us, as she requires the most attire to fully exhibit the entire pre-Hadley Days gift giving extravaganza. Only Ali and I can fully appreciate and show gratitude for the bounty of gifts for our little daughter has received since her arrival on the globe. So, many thanks to all of you that made the first Hadley Days so stunningly kind.
The only mar on the cavalcade of cheer was that my intense cold began to work its way into our little darling, then Keri, and ultimately Ali, who now is suffering the full bloom. Poor Hadley was in such sad shape we had to harbor her a couple of days away from the outside world, as her little nose and chest crackled with cold and she required ever more sleep than usual. She still hasn’t quite been able to shake it all over a week later, but she has definitely gotten increasingly better with each day. I wish the same could be said for Ali who might not have experienced the full crest of misery before the mend just yet. Plus, a weekend check on Keri showed she has definitely seen healthier days.
Despite the insidious incubation of all these infirmities, we made remarkably great time on the return trip, whereupon we unloaded all Hadley’s booty, which has since taken over the living room of our never-ending work-in-progress home. All in all, it was a notably nice trip to the home front of the Midwest. Hadley coming down with the cold slowed things down just enough that we weren’t racing at breakneck speed to and fro the whole week. So we got to enjoy things in some ways more with the slower speeds, despite all of us travelers being at less than full strength.
So to all, belated Happy Hadley Day well wishes. We look forward to next year’s celebration, when the little sweet pea will be toddling around on wobbly legs and squealing with delight at all the fuss about her, while she rips down Christmas ornaments with fascination.