When The Mayor was three months old, the two of us flew to England.
My friend Matthew asked me to become a Godparent to his son.
I was nervous about traveling with The Mayor. He was my first child and I had no idea what I was doing.
K couldn't come with me because he had taken all of his vacation time (and then some) when The Mayor was born.
As worried as I was, I made plans to go.
I'm not always the best, most reliable friend in a day-to-day way, but you can usually count on me to be there when it matters.
[Unless you schedule your wedding on the due date of my second child, my friend.]
I remember arriving in Manchester with The Mayor asleep in a sling.
I saw Matthew waiting for us and thought,
"We made it!"Despite the triumph of simply arriving, I remember feeling completely awkward on that trip.
My body was still half inflated, like some forgotten children's float still hanging around the house in November.
Matthew and his wife, already the parents of two, seemed to know exactly what they were doing.
To me, they were old hands at this business of parenting.
Matthew lives in an 18th century farmhouse on the Pennine Way.
In the daytime, hikers trekked past the front door wearing backpacks and carrying walking sticks.
At night, we bundled up against the evening chill and walked into the meadow.
Matthew, in possession of a frozen mouse, would call to a local owl.
The nights when the owl appeared out of the silence to swoop down and accept our offering took my breath away.
The Mayor and I shared a farmhouse bedroom ordinarily belonging to Matthew's daughter.
Early one morning, I lay awake beside him, shaking rattles and other toys, trying to keep him quiet until I heard others awake in the house.
Eventually I did hear movement and I could tell that Matthew's two children had climbed into bed with him and his wife.
I could hear them laughing.
I looked down at The Mayor.
At three months he didn't do much.
Someone was being tickled in Matthew's room. There was squealing and more laughter.
I remembered jumping on my own parent's bed to wake them up on weekend mornings.
My parent's stalled for time in their warm covers while my brother and I demanded bacon and pancakes.
The Mayor waved his arms and legs in response to the toy rattle I shook.
I wondered how long it would be before The Mayor woke K and I by jumping on our bed.
I felt a little jealous of Matthew's family.
This past weekend, I remembered our trip to Matthew's house and that one morning in particular.
K and I were in bed when The Rooster, dressed in a leotard and tutu, climbed onto our bed and wiggled under the covers, pressing her small, cold feet against our warm bodies.
The Mayor, wearing his pajamas and an over layer of Pirate accessories, climbed aboard shouting directives at us, his weary ship mates.
There was silliness, tickling, laughter and, eventually, an insistent demand for pancakes and bacon.
"Batten down the hatches! Swab the decks!"
"I'm working below deck, Captain!" K shouted from under the covers, stalling for time.