Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Alec's baptism

Alec was baptized on Friday January 23. My parents and Chris' mom flew in the day before! It has been a while since we had parents from both sides with us at the same time. I LOVED IT. We were just talking and catching up the night before and looking forward to the time together. My parents could stay until Saturday morning and Dixie could stay until Tuesday.  We texted Thom, Chris' brother, with a crazy idea that they were welcome to come for the weekend and play with us and Grandma Dixie, even if they couldn't leave work in time to drive the 9 hours and make it to the baptism at 6:00. But we never heard back from them and I didn't think another thing about it since there was plenty other to think about to get ready for it. 

We had printed out a bunch of invitations to hand out to a lot of my friends, Chris' colleagues and Alec's friends and teachers. Alec decided that he would like Charlie to give a talk, Gwen to sing a song, Grandma Heather to play the piano, Grandma Dixie to say the opening prayer and lead the music, Grandpa Betteridge to give a talk and his friend, Benjamin to give the closing prayer. I think Alec liked the idea of being able to ask people to do things that he, himself, found uncomfortable. You should have seen the smile he had on his face when he said he wanted Charlie to give a talk. My dad was great and helped me get the program figured out and printed.

Since it was on a Friday night, I wanted to provide a nice spread of refreshments and it was so nice to have my mom and mother-in-law to help finalize the selections, shop and bake. We did two cheese balls, a meat and cheese platter, crackers, a big bowl of strawberries and grapes, a vegi tray, banana bread, fruit bread, and texas sheet cake. I had some friends who would bring cookies, lemon bars and a yummy punch. 

This would be the first baptism in the new building so we had to work out the kinks a bit. How long did it take to fill up the font? Where was the controls for that? How should we line up the chairs? How do you get the microphone to work in the podium? Where should we serve the food? Were their knives, pitchers and other serving utensils in the kitchen? I left my dad at the church to monitor the font, and start setting up chairs, while my mom and I did the last minute shopping, while Dixie stayed home with Gwen and Frederick.  It was SOO WONDERFUL to have family there. 

Then a few hours before the baptism we got a text from Thom and Brittany with a pin of their current location: Vicksburg, MS!!! They were coming and would be here in time for the baptism!!! Such a fun surprise. By the time Alec got home from school, we could tell him that his cousins Jackson and Graham would show up any minute. Haha. So So exciting. We're so blessed to have such great family and we love and appreciate them more than we can say.

I finished picking up the programs and the last minute shopping (stuff for the food, white underwear for Alec) and grabbed 6 McDonald's happy meals for all the children at home so they wouldn't be hungry during the baptism. I really wanted the evening to feel special for Alec and I think in that regard it was a huge success. There was a very sweet feeling in the room and just before it, Alec was giddy excited, grinning and giggling as he walked/ran around the halls in his white jumpsuit watching people come into the building.  My one regret was to get a family picture with all of our family who came. 

Grandma Dixie had brought Alec a "Baptism Notebook" that had a place for people to sign in, and I didn't quite get it set out in time before people started showing up, so I asked Charlie to go around and ask people to sign it...not really thinking he would but I thought I'd ask anyway. To my surprise, Charlie wasn't shy at all and took the job quite seriously and did it thoroughly.  Despite giving out LOTS of invitations, no one that we gave invites to actually came. :( Alec even asked, "When is my teacher coming?" But the room was still full with support from fellow branch members and family so that was nice. Frederick was pretty antsy the whole evening but I didn't want anything to ruin the warm Spirit I was feeling and just chose to not be annoyed while I held him/distracted him as best I could while listening to the program. 

Watching Alec and my Chris step down into the warm water with that cute giddy smile still on Alec's face and Chris' protective arms guiding and helping him electrified my insides. Then hearing Alec's name in that wonderful, simple yet powerful baptismal prayer made me shed a tear or two. Its hard to describe how incredibly special it all felt. I know this ordinance of baptism truly opens the gate towards returning to our Father in Heaven. I know that it is what God wants for all of his children and to see my son taking that step brought such a lightening feeling to my soul -- confirmation that I'm doing 'okay' as a mom, and that my kids might actually turn out decently. All these feelings strengthened my testimony of Baptism. 

I know Alec felt it too. Later that night I was talking with him about how he felt and I encouraged him to write in his journal about it and he wrote something along the lines of how he wanted to do it again because it felt so warm and good. 

My parents had to catch their flights the next morning and we were sad to see them go. Thom, Brittany and kids could stay until the next morning (Sunday), Chris actually also had to leave Sunday for a conference for a week and so we were all extra glad that Grandma Dixie could stay a few days more until Tuesday afternoon.  I really hadn't planned out any meals or activities for the weekend since I was so focused on the baptism so that brought a little extra last minute stress on but I would gladly take that stress in exchange for time with family.  Also, our plumbing really started acting up over the course of the weekend and by the time Chris, Thom and Brittany left, we only had 1 working toilet in the house and no showers or baths. Apparently a brick had gotten jammed up against a pipe, blocking it from being able to release its contents into the septic tank. Luckily, it was a simple (read: INEXPENSIVE) fix and by Monday night, things were running smoothly again. 

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