The Families Begin to Visit Hadley

Since the last posting, the question for Ali and I has been, “Could we cram more significant events into the month?” Beginning with the first of the month, we welcomed Hadley, and after a few days in hospital the three of us invaded my father-in-law’s home, since our house was still in need of some final adjustments.

After about of month of conversations with the clown college that was responsible for the carpeting in our house, it finally was installed. That meant we could finally begin to unpack the boxes of all our property and begin moving into the place, only after everything sat for three weeks.

Of course only a day or so passed before I started back at work with the beginning of a new school year. Fortunately, I returned to the same school finally, something which makes me quite happy, considering that I rather like working there. However, having already started coaching my girl’s soccer team for another version of the second campaign, things were already gaining traction on the workfront. As I always say, no rest for the wicked, and I must have been one evil bastard in a past life.

Week two began the arrival of out-of-towners. First, Ali’s mom flew in for the first half of the week, pulling in on Sunday and heading back on Thursday. While here she and Ali were able to make some serious progress on the unpacking and organizing. Still we needed a new furnace, especially with the new baby and a premature New England cool spell, before leaving the in-law’s nest. Nevertheless, Mother Terwedow got plenty of time to see Hadley, grandchild number four.

Within a few hours of Ali’s mom’s departure, my parents and aunt were dropping into Logan for a latter half of the week stay. So week two of Hadley’s young life was jam packed with grandparents, as she has now met all but one. With my Dad around, he and I were able to complete a number of smaller things around the house edging ever so closer to inhabitability. Plus, a new furnace was installed. Ultimately, Hadley was poked and prodded and enjoyed by the family at length, and she seemed to be showing more and more of her budding personality.

Of course the entirety of last week I was suffering from a cold, which it would seem made its way to my new daughter. Only now am I finally shedding the remnants of the sickness that one of my miscreant students likely gave me. Unfortunately, Hadley looks to have a few more days of fighting left.

All of this got us to the end of this week, which has elapsed at a pretty quick clip. All the while my wife has been stunningly strong in caring for our new daughter, despite all the commotion. Even with all the help of others, it ultimately comes down to her slogging it out in the world of infant care. Luckily, our sweet newborn is pretty peaceful, for the most part. She has already proven to be relatively willful, however. Moreover, now that she has begun to become more awake and alert, she has begun letting us now that she is not terribly interested in sitting still any longer. If she is awake, she wants to be moving. Otherwise, she lets everyone know it. Regardless, she remains about as cute a baby that has ever lived, despite the effects we may be suffering from sleep deprivation.

So we still have a week left in September and the question remains, “Could we cram more significant events into the month?” I mean, this weekend also marked the official move into our home. Of course I’ll have more photos once I can get all my gear set up and all camera work prepped and ready for show.

Everything has Changed

When I was a boy my mother used to tell me, “The first of the month is coming and there will be changes…” whereupon she would list a series of adjustments she desired around the house, usually regarding my attitude. All of this talk would usually pitch me into a kind of emotional maelstrom, difficult to characterize but unquestioningly powerful. This would last a few days, maybe even more than a week, only to slide back into the usual routines, occasionally with a remark about a lost, fleeting transformation. I was reminded of this repeated childhood moment as I drove my nervous wife to Massachusetts General Hospital on the last evening of August. Now during the weekend’s opening to September, the most profound and irreversible changes ushered into my life by this familiar monthly milestone.

As the sun rose across Boston, striping the skyline along the Charles River with long shafts of light and shadow, my wife performed brilliantly, delivering an immediately beautiful newborn. Our first child arrived at 7:05 AM, on the first of the month, touching off a whole new kind of internal turbulence which I am still searching to grasp. I never truly understood the words overwhelming or awesome until yesterday. All uses of those words now seem to me beyond trite, marrowless.

Upon hearing the first cry of life, every emotion in me fired all at once, and it was beautiful and strange and unlike anything I have ever experienced. Tears welled in my eyes as I heard the doctor say, “It’s a baby girl!” and watched this wet, black-haired body being placed on Ali’s chest. Yet mine were not the typical “tears of joy.” They were so much more than that. Joy, even happiness, is far too simple, too narrow of a description, and fails to capture the full storm of sensations. I was so full of every emotion, bursting with speed and suddenness. Most amazing to my spent and sobbing wife was the fact that I was speechless. No words came. I could speak nothing as I stood by bedside. All I could do was stare, lean down, kiss Ali gently on the forehead, then whisper in her ear, “I love you. I love you. I love you.” In an instant this tiny maiden changed everything.

Photo: Our Beautiful Daughter

“What are you going to name her?” asked the doctor. This detail had been discussed at length for some time. If it was a boy the name was preordained; but a girl, well that opened up a range of possibilities. Ali looked up at me newly pregnant, this time with hope. She had been advocating a name she thought to be perfect for many reasons. Barely audible, “Whatever you want,” I said.

Photo: A Sleeping Lovely

Hadley Killaine, every time I think that name my eyes grow glassy as if someone popped my in the beak. She came into our lives like lightning, bright, bewildering, and brilliant, and nothing in the world will ever again be the same.