Here's an accounting of today's events:
It was just a little before 9:00 as we arrived at the chapel this morning. The air was grey and very crisp and in the distance we could hear a lone woodpecker taptaptaping on a tree far off in the distance.
Inside the church we located where the baptism was going to be held and saw Suzanne's little family as well as her in-laws. Curiously enough my parents weren't there yet. Lisa and I smiled and shook some hands and settled down into our chairs as the prelude music played.
As we walked in I heard the piano playing, "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus," and found myself getting a little choked up. I wonder at times if I am perhaps getting too hard hearted or cynical. When I go to an event like this though I tear up and sniff a lot and generaly try not to make a spectacle out of myself but I'm always grateful for feeling the spirit.
Olivia looked beautiful in her simple white dress sitting over by her Grandma Dunford.
Hazel and then Henry came out to hug and hang out with me and Lisa (always a bonus,) and shortly after Lisa and I arrived my folks appeared on the scene looking a little harried but happy to be there.
In most baptismal services I've gone to there's generally a short little talk or two and then the baptism and maybe somthing else while we're all waiting for the person to get dried off and dressed and then something else for the end. This one though the bishop in Suzanne's ward after my mom gave the opening prayer basically asked Olivia if she and her dad were ready...they went into the font and baptized her.
I am always, always touched at baptisms. I remember my own rather clearly (I had a cherry pit in my mouth,) and I think of the baptisms I attended on my mission and other special ones I've attended. I am always touched as the person performing the ordinance raises his arm to the square and pronounces the simple words of the prayer and then takes the person down, buries them in the water and raises them back up. The symbolism is not lost on me.
I am more struck by the person being baptized, dressed in simple white who has decided to have this special ordinance done and committing to following the example of Jesus.
Whether a person believes or doesn't believe in the diviinity of the carpenter's son..I can't think of a philosopher with teachings more worthy of following.
We sang a few primary hymns while we waited for Olivia to return with Suzanne and then, again without much preamble, Olivia was sat on a chair and was surrounded by her dad, her bishop, her uncle and her two grandfathers as her dad placed his hands on her head and confirmed her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The bishop after had Olivia stand up by him and had her look at everybody in the audience look her in the eye. He pointed out that we were all there because we love her (and we do) and that we were all sent by Heavently Father to help her in her life and to help her make righteous choices and that she too would help us.
It was very simple but I thought about that. We're all alone together on this world and we're here to help each other out.
At Suzanne's there was a light brunch with mostly fruit, some hard boiled eggs and Suzanne's sister in law brought some of her really amazing cupcakes. It was a most pleasant affair.
Later we brought out some of the birthday presents Lisa and I had bought for the kids. In years past I have taken them out on their individual Big Fun Days but since I now live in San Francisco that's pretty difficult. I think I'll try to make it out in the summer and take them so we can get their annual plates painted.
Olivia liked the bead kit we gave her and Henry really got excited about another bucket of Legos but Hazel seemed to be the most delighted with the truly tacky, gaudy princess jewelry and as she pulled out the hot pink feather boa I turned to Bill and apologized in advance for the pink feathers they would forever be finding in their house.
The rest of the day has been rather low key. Lisa and I hung out at Suzanne's for several more hours after everyone else left. We played with our Webkinz online (they love the one Suzanne got for me...a raccoon I named Washington.) Sam and I played Rock, Paper, Scissors online as well as checkers, Lisa and Olivia made necklaces, Henry played with his new Legos and Hazel generally ran around in her jeweled finery.
I have so missed being there, listening to the chaos and noise and voices. I laughed as Sam kept humming the Imperial Death March and even more so as I sang back to him the tune Mark sings. "We are the Empire, We're big and we're MEAN!"
As we left I gave each of them a hug and felt again somewhat teary.
I've just so missed those guys. I've missed my sister.