Baptism and Baby Spoiling

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.

The Baptism Crew

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.

Baptism Dress Old Man and Hadley

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.

Gran Jan and Hadley

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.

Grandparents at Baptism

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.

With the Minister

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.

Boston Skyline

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.

Faneuil Hall

Make Way for Ducklings

In Rockport

Back in Northern Illinois for Festivities

Photo: NIU Convocation Center

Well, I jetted back to Chicago again this weekend to witness my younger brother’s graduation from Northern Illinois University. Sixty plus miles west of the city lies Husky country. So, my family and I headed for the university yesterday morning for the commencement.

Photo: NIU Convocation Center Interior

Ten years ago, nearly to the day, I too hooked up the gown and donned the cap for the family to sit in what can be described as proud boredom. David’s affair was a considerably bigger affair, held in a multipurpose arena with a full band and substantial crowd of onlookers. Since we got there early, I was able to document the scene as preparations were being made.

Photo: NIU Band

Fortunately, as with many large universities, the ceremonies are provisioned by school. So, David’s school of business filed into the NIU’s Convocation Center, at just around a 1000 strong ready to receive their parchment. In spite of a fair amount of pomp and circumstance, the remarks were kept relatively short. The powers that be spent most of the time on reading names, which considering the number of graduate students, in addition to all the undergrads, proved a real blessing for all those in attendance. I mean it is nice to see that the officials recognize that everyone is sitting there finding various ways to kill time, poised for about a ten second celebration, when their respective family member or friend has their name spoken over the mic and reaches for the university president’s limp handshake with one hand and the empty pleather with the other. I say empty, because for all the observance of formality, no one actually gets a diploma at these things. After the registrar has vetted your transcript and no one is responsible for trying to make sure a thousand named certificates of graduation make it into the right hands, you can get it in the mail, for a nominal fee.

Photo: Dave Getting His Diploma Photo: Dave Close-up

In the end, only the last candidate gets a truly huge ovation, as the crowd recognizes things are finally over and you can meet up with your grad for the real celebration and close-ups. Of course coordinating all of this in a large arena, means a crescendo of cacophonous cell phone calls. Everyone in the place was on the phone nearly the whole time, giving the whole event a kind of post-modern absurdity of truly comic value. Nevertheless, everyone was excited to see their capped one and congratulate them.

So, here’s to you Davey!

Photo: Dave with Mom and Dad