Friday, December 26, 2008


I never really understood how family traditions were created. I figured it was a slow, glacial process where one day you looked up and said, “Oh, I guess we throw dishes at the wall every Thanksgiving.”

Well, this year my brother Steve decided to manufacture a tradition. He declared, “From now on we are all going to 3pm family mass on Christmas Eve.” Diana thought and said, “I’ll see your church and raise you Champaign and appetizers immediately after.” Diana and Steve then spit into their hands and shook on it. In my imagination.

I got pretty excited about family mass. Then Diana told me family mass does not, in fact, feature a puppet show and a balloon drop. All it is is a regular mass where they don’t mind when your kid screams. Thank goodness.

Di, Elijah and I settled down beside the other Evanston Hamanns and wedged Eli between us in the hopes he’d behave. It also gave him a chance to practice his favorite new word, “Stuck.” He boinged between Diana and my legs saying, “Stuck. Stuck. Stuck.” He made it through the first song at which he clapped enthusiastically.

But then he immediately remembered this was the place of head dunking and started howling.

Being that it was family mass, no one noticed or cared. But I have a pathological desire not to be the dad whose kid ruins Christmas mass, so I scooped Eli up and went looking for a hiding place. I’m not sure who designed our church, but they forgot to add a basement, closet or anything resembling a small cage. In fact, everywhere I went, the acoustics would send Eli’s cries up to the ceiling and down directly into the ears of the grade school Mary, Joseph, Sheppards and Wise People. But they were all pros.

After Eli slapped away the priest’s hand who was attempting to bless him, Diana said, “We’re outta here.”

We spent the rest of the evening sipping bubbly and watching Finn try to prevent Eli from destroying his new Star Wars stuff.

I haven’t been mushy in a while on the blog. But I am dumbfounded at how lucky I am. This child, for all his hilarious attacks of grouchiness at the worst possible minute, is the light of my life. I love him so much it physically hurts. And I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have the greatest wife in the world who I can share this little miracle.

I hope you all had a great Christmas/Chanukah filled with bubbly and cheese and crackers and non-destroyed Star Wars stuff.

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