October 12, 2009


Columbus Day weekend was a big one for the Crum clan. Beckett and I drove down to Newport News, Virginia with my parents on Thursday night for the wedding of my second cousin. Although we have done a couple of drives to New York and back, this was Beckett's first official road trip. Although he slept through most of it, I spent most of the drive thinking about all the trips my family made down to this part of the country - at least twice a year - to visit my grandparents. The trip seemed longer back then, and were almost always fraught with epic fights over backseat territory lines and who had control of the radio station (the answer was my parents, who almost always opted for NPR or the baseball game). This time the ten hour drive passed by without incident, and the long lonely stretch of the eastern shore was more contemplative than deadly boring.

Almost my entire extended family lives in southeastern Virginia or southern Alabama. We took Beckett to Alabama when he was just six weeks old, so he met a good part of his family over the summer. This weekend's trip was part two of the Beckett-meets-the- Crum/Roane family saga, and more important in one way - he got to meet his great-grandmother.

My father's mother, Grandma, passed away just before Beckett was born. And my paternal grandfather, Grandpa, over Christmas the year before. Until two years ago, I was lucky to have three living grandparents, who despite not having seen as frequently as I would have liked, were an important part of my family life. Now I only have one grandmother, Granny, who lives in a retirement community in Newport News. We took Beckett to see her every day that we were there, and as you can see from the picture, it was love at first sight for both of them.

We also spent some quality time with my closest cousin and his wife, who are expecting their first child in January. Matthew and I are more like siblings than cousins (remember that comment about epic battles? We have a few stories of our own) and of course I have grand visions that his son and mine will be fast friends. We are eagerly awaiting this little one's arrival.

But since this is a blog about firsts, and Beckett's in particular, I should mention all the amazing things that Beckett did this weekend. Even though it wasn't his first car trip, plane trip (although he was awake for this one), or wedding (Jim's brother got married in August), it was Beckett's first time in a church. We discovered that he truly hates organ music, which he demonstrated with piteous sobs every time the organist would begin to pound out a tune. Subsequently, his first time in a church was pretty short-lived, and we spent the majority of the ceremony in the car singing 'itsy bitsy spider'. Um, can we talk about the weird hypnotic powers of that song? It stops Beckett in his tracks. I still haven't figured out what we're going to do about his Christening other than to bring earplugs.

Since he spent the entirety of his uncle's wedding reception fast asleep in his carseat, this would qualify as Beckett's first dance with his Grams and the first time he ever witnessed the chicken dance. He also learned how to sit up this weekend, and to say the letter 'G'. He laughs more than he did last week, and looks at us all with more intelligence and wisdom than I can fathom.

Although it was 90 degrees in Virginia on Friday, we came home on Sunday to a cooler Boston. The leaves are brighter and the air has that perpetual fall smell of wood smoke. I finally broke down and turned on the heat, because it was 62 degrees in the house this morning. There is a tenderness to this time of year, and although I feel a little sad for the coming winter, I force myself to get excited about the little things - like seeing Beckett in his winter hat, which is just too cute for words.

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