My parents weren't married when I was conceived. It so happened that they were living together in a one-bedroom apartment in Calgary in 1978. My mother wanted a baby and, living in the free-love 70's, they really didn't pay too much attention to social convention.

Around six months, my dad suggested getting married. They were going to stay together anyway, and if they weren't married, I would have my mother's last name. For some reason, my dad thought "Baxter" was a better last name than "Waldbauer" (sins of the father or some such).

Next, they had to decide on date for the wedding. They had already decided to be married by a justice of the peace, and to only invite the immediate family. The wedding pictures I have are of my mom and dad (and me, in utero), her mother, her aunt and her cousin, and her mother's parents. As it was nearing December, one of them suggested Christmas day, on a lark. Sure, why not?

The justice of the peace lived just one cul-de-sac over, and so with a minimum of fuss and expense, on December 25th, 1978, my parents were married. My mom, only 24 years old, with the permed hair so common in the late 70's, wore a dark green silk dress that didn't do anything to disguise the bulge that was a seven month-gestated me. A month later, I was born into a family that even the government considered legal.

And they have been married for 23 years, happily even. My younger brother, born safely within the confines of wedlock, thinks my dad suggested Christmas so he wouldn't have to get two gifts. He's such a cynic.

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