Since I had defended my thesis in April, I looked like myself by July:
That's right. In order to look like myself I need not only a beard, but also a pink crown.
Nicole's dad called up early the month saying that Paul McCartney was coming to perform in Salt Lake and that he was going to go. He invited us to go with him: I encouraged Nicole to go in spite of the expense with this argument: she shouldn't miss the chance to see McCartney with her dad. See, my father in law plays and teaches guitar and grew up on the Beatles. Rock and Roll history is part of his personal lore. Sure enough, at the concert he could identify each new guitar Paul brought out and sometimes predict based on the guitar what song was coming next.
George and Nicole had a great time at the concert. It'll also be fun to tell Elijah that before he was born, he got to hear a live performance by Paul McCartney.
Also in July: Kira's birthday party. She decided to have a "wicked witch" party, so all the twenty-two kids (mostly relatives plus some friends) came dressed up and went on a scavenger hunt. If you ever get a good excuse, I definitely recommend going from door to door in costume on July. The disorientation on people's faces is priceless.
The experience resonated with my own childhood in one amusing way: when they'd call him weird or scary, my dad used to tell his seventh-grade students that every day was Halloween at our house. And this July, it sort of was!
August turned into a sort of flocking month. My aunt Su and her family had planned to come for Utah to camp, my uncle David and his family decided to stop by on their move from San Jose to London, my aunt Janice and uncle Paul were already in town and my aunt Sheila decided that if so many other people were there, she'd better drive down from Idaho. My mom didn't want to be left out, so she and my brother Matt bought plane tickets in. That meant all my mom's siblings except for her brother Stephen (located in northern England) were there. Her son (my brother) Stephen did arrive, however, as he and his wife, recently returned from two-year contracts in Thailand, moved their old stored possessions from Columbus to grad school in Oakland.
With all the comings and goings, we failed to get pictures of many important people, but did capture some nice moments.
Here, kids from four different "tiny families" are wading in the tiny canal at a local nature park:
Later, we had a "gradower": a graduation party for me and a shower for the coming baby. Karaoke is, of course, an important Wilkes family gradower tradition. It was fun to see my side of the family join in:
We sang past dark, both onstage and from the audience area on the grass. I love this picture of my wife and my mom:
All too quickly, over course, everyone had dispersed to their various corners of world and sky. Matt was back soon, though, on his way to a mission in India. We picked him up at the airport and had time for lunch with the cousins his age before we dropped him off for his three-week intensive training in the Missionary Training Center:
Since LDS missionaries spend are gone for two full years before they come home, many families get very emotional at the parting:
as you can see, we are no exception!
September and October
We had made a short list of first and middle names to take with us to the hospital because we wanted to see our son before deciding for sure.
His name is Elijah Akal. In Mormonism, the prophet Elijah plays a major role: the Biblical prediction that he would return to "turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers" is seen as having been fulfilled. Our doctrine of eternal families is based in our belief in the visit of Elijah to latter-day prophets in 1836.
"Akal" is a Sikh name meaning "timeless" (the word "kal" means both "yesterday" and "tomorrow" so "akal" is "without yesterdays or tomorrows"). Because the world has changed so much, we can feel very distant from our ancestors by our linear view of time: if you can believe there's more to the mystery of time than what we can fully understand now, though, perhaps we are closer than we think.
This final photo particularly pretty because it
was taken by my sister, Vilo Elisabeth Westwood
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