Slow comes the hour, its passing speed how great!

Hello again! I can hardly believe I'm back at my laptop typing up another Year in Review post! Let's go 🏃‍♀️

2022 was a year of:

  • two sweet babies born to friends and family (Adriano and Vivian 💛💜)
  • one lemon-and-soccer-themed 1st birthday for Baby O ⚽️
  • one 60th birthday celebration ft. pizza, sushi and my amazing mom, Erica
  • one 60th birthday bash that involved a surprising (or unsurprising, if you know my dad) number of cartwheels: HBD "G Money" aka my uncle Gino
  • one 70th birthday beach weekend for the books celebrating my father-in-law, John
  • four beautiful weddings in Boston, Muskoka, Salt Lake City and the Bahamas (Véro & Geoff, Karyn & Cam, James & Germaine and Andrew & Naz 🎉)

At the close of 2021, Baby O was just four and a half months old and Carla and I were still getting our sea legs as parents. Through the warm glow of the first few months, we couldn't have been happier to be new moms to someone we already sensed was a very happy, goofy and energetic kid.

Hello, Manhattan

We started off the year in Brooklyn, but not for long. After 15 and 5 years respectively, Carla and I decided it was time to try out a new borough; midway through January we moved to Manhattan Valley on the Upper West Side. We've loved our first year here: everything we need is within a couple block radius of our apartment, we're closer to Carla's family and, crucially, our pediatrician's office is right downstairs.

By the power vested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

In February, I officiated the wedding of two of my best friends in Boston, Véronique and Geoff. I was very happily surprised by how simple it was to tick the bureaucratic boxes required to legally perform a wedding in Massachussetts—if you must wed a couple in the U.S., see if they'll tie the knot in the Baked Bean state.

A scanned photograph from Véro and Geoff's wedding ceremony, with me officiating

Baby O took his first road trip with Carla, my mother-in-law, Mary, and me as we made the four hour drive. I was more nervous than I thought I'd be (will my retelling of their love story do it justice? is the tone just right?), but the couple made it easy. Their vows were 1 of 1 (x2), as expected, and the wedding speeches delivered by beaming parents landed differently than in the past, each recounting tender stories of awkward adolescences or less than convincing threats of running away from home. It was our first real outing in ages and the whole thing ******* rocked.

Carla and Alessia as guests at Véro and Geoff's wedding, smiling beside the dance floor and flashing the peace sign

Meeting the family

The spring brought some highs (new job for A and Carla's law firm back in full swing post-maternity leave) and lows (COVID for A), but the summer made up for it. For ten days in June and July, Carla, Baby O and I descended on the Bay Area to visit close friends of mine: Robin is a brilliant historian who makes a mean martini and gorgeous pottery and ceramics; Mark, Robin's husband, is a skilled gardener who tends cells in his day job genetically engineering sustainable and delicious lab-grown meat.

Carla, Mark and Robin sitting outside in Oakland, California around a table

But there was another important reason we took our 10 month old on his first cross-country plane ride: to meet some of his siblings for the first time 💖 Carla and I have come to understand the importance of bio kin on Baby O's dad's side from listening to the perspectives of adult donor conceived people (DCP).

While some use the term "diblings" (portmanteau of "donor siblings") to describe these sibling relationships, we've realized the term can downplay the connection our son has with the people who share 50% of his DNA. After all, lots of non-DCP kids grow up knowing their biological half siblings, and no one corrects them when they refer to them without qualification.

Alessia, Carla and Orlando hiking in the Oakland hills

Meeting some of his siblings and their families and spending time with them throughout our visit was an incredible experience: the kids are all happy and outgoing, and while they're being raised in different households, it was stirring to observe the traits they share even at a young age. When the youngest sibling present began to cry, every parent in the room perked up. It sounded remarkably like each of our kids.

A huge added bonus for Carla and me was getting to know the parents. I've heard the term "cross-mom" used by DCP to refer to your sibling's mom, for example. Well, Baby O has lots of cross-moms and non-binary cross-parents! We're biased, but it's a super cool group of kids and parents, to a person. We're grateful for Baby O's, and by extension, our family, of all three branches of his family tree.

Leo szn

August was another highlight: we celebrated Baby O's first birthday back in NYC and again in Toronto followed by a weeklong Montreal trip. As a former coworker told me during the coldest February in recorded history soon after I'd moved there: don't worry, the summers are magical. Can confirm.

Orlando and Carla taking a walk through Montreal's Parc Lahaie and chatting with a man feeding some birds

Heading into the end of the year, we're feeling so fortunate to be able to spend time with loved ones and marvel at how far our little family has come in the last 12 months. Sending you love and warmth this holiday season, reader, wherever you may be. 💌


Our cat, Ghost, laying cozily on a couch in a nest of pillows