Christmas is now upon us. So, Merry Christmas! Here are some pics.
Last weekend, we hosted the families for Hadley’s christening. It was great to have my parents in town for a few days. They arrived a bit early and we got to spend a couple of days with them. It was the first time they had been this way since right after Hadley was born.
We had a great time in the run-up to baptism day. My dad helped me out with a few things around the house and my mom got to spend some quality time with her granddaughter. While grandma nearly held the baby in her arms the entire time, it turns out Hadley took quite a liking to grandpa. She hung on him chimp-like and even was seen taking a nap on his chest, not something she does with just anyone. The old man seemed to quite like her too.
By Saturday, my brother, David, and his girlfriend, Micaela, arrived. Our pick-up was slightly delayed, after my dad and I took a detour to a puddle jumper airport just north of Providence, thanks to my mother’s iPhone GPS routing us to the wrong destination. Having never been to the Providence airport before, I was none the wiser until we approached the deserted airfield. Needless to say we got righted pretty quickly. Chalk one up for the old school paper maps. I am rock solid with those.
Ali, Hadley, and I finally got to meet Micaela which was a treat. She was home in Argentina when we were in Chicago for the holidays, so we missed her. She too adored Little Miss Hadley and immediately upon my mother’s departure invoked the newly coined term “Micaela Time.” Needless to say Hadley got plenty of cuddling and spoiling.
The christening itself was quite nice. Uncle David and Aunt Keri were flawless as godparents. The baptism was rolled into a normal service and everything went off without a hitch. The minor exception was a knocked fan during Hadley’s presentation to the congregation. That made a bit of a racket briefly but was quickly subdued.
Apart from the service, we had a small gathering at the homestead, in spite of the oppressive heat and humidity, and occasional rain. It seems like we always have the best weather for our summer soirees. Our MA reception was probably the hottest day of that year, and this baptism day was one of the more uncomfortable one this yet this season.
We did get to spend a couple of extra days with my brother and Micaela before they returned home to Chicago. We all had a great time cruising around downtown Boston one day and up the North Shore the next. It was all great fun.
My first Father’s Day has now come and gone. As it approached it all seemed so strange. I had little or no expectation of what it would be like, and Ali regularly interrogated me to gauge my excitement. Sadly, my excitement was lacking. With Hadley being only months old, it wasn’t as if she was going to surprise me. Yet, as always, Ali did.
One of the funny things about my lovely wife is that when it comes to gifts she is extremely child-like. While she is profoundly sophisticated at conceiving and selecting gifts, always thoughtful and generous, she absolutely cannot stop talking about one after she has secured it. So, for the last month or so, Ali has been playfully taunting me with her regular chatter of "Are you exited about your first Father’s Day? I already got your present. I think you are going to love it. Do you want me to give it to you now? Ooooh, I can hardly wait to give it to you. I hope you like it!" Every major event where gifts are involved between the two of us, some similar build toward the point of bursting ensues. She simply cannot contain her enthusiasm. It is quite endearing. I am just glad that she holds off on the Christmas present. Otherwise, I might have my gift before September, because her excitement could possibly overtake her. Nevertheless, she scored well with two remarkably warm and wonderful gifts.
As there is a long standing tradition in her family of presenting fathers with an ugly tie, she playfully riffed off of this idea with Hadley’s gift to me. It features one of my favorite snapshots of Hadley in a random collage-effect, all printed on a black necktie. Not exactly an everyday tie, not that I wear one all that often anyway, but still one that is likely to get occasional use, especially as Hadley gets older and finds it more embarrassing. What larks wearing it will be then!
The second gift was the real gem. Ali fashioned a book together which tells the story of my becoming a dad, complete with text and a stunning selection of photos from the past year, highlighting my newfound role. It is really quite beautiful. It is hardbound, like a small children’s book and prominently features many of my favorite pictures of Hadley. For a booklover, what could have been more loving? It was really quite touching and short story was not without Ali’s typical sharp wit.
All and all, it was a lovely day with many well wishes, which was quite nice. Not knowing what to make of the whole it turned out to be quite a treat. We celebrated the Ali’s Dad’ annual Mountain of Meat commemoration of the occasion, which is not to be missed. Plus, I even got a very generous gift from the in-laws, which was stunningly kind. It certainly makes me look forward to the whole event with a bit more relish for the future.