She looked so perfect, with her sweet face and rosebud lips, that you could almost believe one of the cherubs from the mural on the lobby’s ceiling had come to life and was now quietly sleeping in a stroller. She stirred when she heard her father say her name. With the flutter of her eyelids and a few little kicks, Hadley was suddenly wide awake and fully prepared to steal my heart.
Not yet one year old, the little baby with the big smile was on her very first family vacation. Her parents loaded their car in Iowa, with the plan of taking a week to explore Dubuque, Milwaukee and Chicago. Less than two hours into the journey, the family was hit by another car on highway, forcing their car onto the road divider and perilously close to oncoming traffic. The shaken parents, Nate and Cassie, were amazed to discover Hadley, unharmed, remained asleep through the entire ordeal.
Despite their bumps and bruises, the family was determined to enjoy their very first vacation together, so they pressed on. After encountering a number of additional obstacles that would have made even the most seasoned travelers abandon the journey, the trio arrived in Milwaukee sore, exhausted, and determined to have a wonderful time.
Finally at their destination, the weary couple relished the quiet luxury of room service and an inviting bed. After a restful night sleep, the family was ready to experience Milwaukee, tackling the lakefront, museums and even a little public dancing when they could not guess the password to enter at the nearby Safe House. Adding to the fun, the tiny traveler experienced another first on the trip- her first time in a pool! She kicked and shimmied in the warm water, thrilled by the new sensations she discovered on the 23rd floor.
The little girl had me under her spell. I fell in love with Hadley the moment she came out of her stroller and onto my lap. She doesn’t have words yet, but she doesn’t need them. The sparkle in her eyes and her mega-watt smile tell you everything that needs to be known. Just a glance makes it clear this bundle of delight wants to explore and share her happiness with everyone around her. I observed that not a single person who caught a glimpse of this little doll could resist returning her bright smile.
Spending time with Hadley and her lovely parents was a true pleasure. She will likely not recall her very first family vacation, but scrapbooks and family lore will keeps the events of these days alive and make The Pfister Hotel part of her life story. She may not remember her first time in Milwaukee, but I am fairly certain I will never forget her.