The boy-child’s naming day, January 1999. All of these people made wishes for him then; now I’m going to ask them to do the same again. Photo: Gary Gray, 1999.
The other day I was musing over the boy-child’s reluctance resistance refusal to allow me to organise a celebration for his up-coming 16th birthday (Three weeks out and I’ve organised nothing). Several members of my wise blogging whanau* commented on this, and Meghan at FireBonnet suggested that instead of trying to force the issue I could arrange for friends and family to participate in the birthday though a book of wishes or reminiscences. It was a brilliant suggestion; elegant, simple and achievable.
I did think of a refinement on it in the form of a video compilation, but soon realised that – as with many of my initial enthusiasms – it would just be a whole lot of work. Not to mention a bit like sending coals to Newcastle, since my video-editing skills are way, way less than the boy-child’s.
So a book it is. Thank you Meghan. Now I must start phoning, emailing, FB messaging friends and whanau for their contributions.
In the meantime, here are a few pics of the boy-child with some of the amazing people who have touched his life.
All grown up and living in Australia; the boy-child’s favourite “big cuzzie”
Kids together; now the boy-child’s cousin is probably heading to the US to study.
With mum’s “baby” brother and wife
One the farm with aunt and cousin
First birthday with maternal uncles and cousin.
One of the few photos I have of the boy-child with his godmother.
Grandma Lisbeth; a constant and ever-loving presence.
Remembrance of birthdays past. In 2010 we managed to hold a whanau dinner for the boy-child, taking advantage of relatives being in town anyway for his grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Picnic at sunset with our dear friend Yumi from Tokyo. Photo: Gray-Leslie family archive.
Sharing a joke in a Brixton bar with two of the “cuzzies.”
The boy-child and his aunt
JP went to school with the Big T.
One of the Big T’s university friends; most of whom are still a part of our lives.
The Big T’s aunt’s 80th birthday, and the boy-child joins the fun with his second? cousins.
With “Auntie Laura” at the boy-child’s uncle’s wedding, London, 2006.
When you’re a skateboarder, having a chiropractor as your godfather is a must.
This post was written as part of my countdown to my son’s 16th birthday. Here’s what has gone before:
* whanau is a Maori word which describes extended family – though necessarily or exclusively in a biological sense. In everyday use it tends to be used to describe those to whom we feel a sense of community or kinship.