In full disclosure, I didn't read Harry Potter until I was expecting Rachel and the seventh book was coming out and Andrew was so incredibly excited about it that he preordered it. So I figured it was time to see what all the fuss was about. The only problem was that I thought the first book was a little bit...boring. I simply hadn't been able to get into it no matter how many times I picked it up. Andrew instructed me to start with the third book, which is one of his favourites: it's much shorter (and less intimidating) than the later books but is a little more captivating than the first book.
So that's what I did. And then I read 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 in rapid succession and was all ready for book 7 when it came out. Or at least, I would have been ready had I not been busy doing other things...like having a baby.
Rachel was born on July 20, 2007. Harry Potter 7 was released on July 21, 2007.
Andrew and I disagree a little about when the book came, precisely. He claims it came a day early, that the package was delivered to our doorstep, quite literally while I was birthing Rachel, that he went home to get it, and that he read it that first night at the hospital (and that all the nurses were reading it, too).
I'm pretty sure, however, that he didn't go back to our apartment the night Rachel was born. I think he camped out in the hospital room feeling too shell-shocked to do anything else until the morning, when he decided to run home for a shower, shave, and fresh set of clothes. As evidence, he was wearing his (favourite) orange shirt on the day she was born, and is clearly not wearing it in the picture below.
Whatever the case, he returned to the hospital with a brand new copy of The Deathly Hallows as giddy as a school boy, snatched Rachel from her bassinet, and settled on the couch in my hospital room, declaring, "This is the best day of my life!"
And all the nurses were reading the book as well.
Yesterday our copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child finally arrived and Andrew mentioned wanting to recreate that picture of him with Rachel from nine years ago, so I went to Rachel with the idea to test the waters.
"No way!" Rachel declined. "Why doesn't he just do it with Zoë or something?"
"Because he wants to do it with you. Come on, it'll be fun."
"No," she said flatly.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Because it's embarrassing! I wouldn't ever want anyone to see it!"
We talked about controlling the narrative, and how it's not embarrassing if you're the one leaking the photo. If you put the photo out there and say, "Haha! Look what we did! Aren't we clever?" then it's no longer embarrassing; it's just funny.
She still wasn't convinced, so I took her on a little journey online to look at a bunch of recreated photos from years gone by. She found them hilarious, but was still worried about the embarrassment factor. I assured her that not a single one of those willing participants was embarrassed by those photographs.
However, to be embarrassed you have to be made to feel awkward, self-conscious, or ashamed, and that is quite impossible to do if you confidently recreate a photograph and brazenly post it online for all the world to see. If you embrace a situation—even if it's something silly—then you can't be embarrassed. All you can be is awesome.
And so, without further ado, here's our attempt at recreating the best day of Andrew's life, holding his firstborn child and the newest book of (one of his) favourite series:
See, Rachel? That wasn't so embarrassing, was it?
I'm not sure we nailed it, precisely, but I'd say we did a bang up job recreating it, especially considering the three other children we had vying for the limelight. Naturally we had to take a picture of Andrew holding all his little loves (and the newest Harry Potter book) as well:
They're such a handsome bunch.
And they're already planning on remembering to recreate this photograph in 2026.
Because that would be hilarious and not remotely embarrassing (except, perhaps, for Zoë (it might take a fair bit of convincing to get her to pose like that in ten years)).
On facebook Andrew captioned our recreation photograph as "3291 days later," and I said, looking at the new picture of him holding all four kids, "When you put it that way, no wonder we're tired! We've done a lot in the last 3291 days!!"
We've had three more babies, graduated from school three more times, and moved three more times,* all in 3291 days...give or take (because I'm pretty sure Andrew's timeline is off by a day).
And now I need to stop writing and start reading because I'm first in line to read this book, and then it's Andrew, and then Rachel, and finally Miriam, who, incidentally, came home from school yesterday waving Harry Potter 7 in the air and squealing, "I finished it! I finished it! I finished it!" Her first time through the series; I'm so proud.
If I don't finish this book quickly someone's going to steal it from me!
* Good things come in threes, apparently.