Thursday, September 15, 2011
Baptism and a Blessing
Katelund got baptized on Saturday, August 20th. She had been looking forward to this day all year long because she knew that once she turned 8, she would be baptized. I had also been looking forward to this day, but I was feeling some anxiety as well. What if she doesn't understand everything? Had I taught her all that she needed to know? Does she realize how important it will be for her to keep these baptismal covenants for the rest of her life? Was she ready? Was I ready? All these questions came to my mind over and over again all year long. Of all my children (so far), Katelund is the hardest one for me to parent. She is stubborn, strong-willed, and very difficult to discipline. But, she also has a very sweet and tender spirit. As rebellious and difficult as she can be at times, she is usually always very quick to ask forgiveness and to have a change of heart. It truly is one of her greatest gifts. But still the question remained..."does she know enough?".
On the way to the church, Cory and I had some time alone with her (grandmas, grandpas, cousins, and Andrea were all coming later with the rest of the kids). As we drove, Cory explained to Katelund that as much as we wanted her to be baptized, it was her choice. We wanted to make sure that this is what she wanted to do. She told us that she really wanted to do this (whew, not sure what we would've done if she'd said she didn't want to). We talked to her a little about the importance of covenants and what her baptism will mean to her for the rest of her life. She listened intently with a big nervous smile on her face. Then there was a moment of silence and she said, "Mommy, Daddy, I need to ask you some questions. I was wondering if Santa Claus is really real." I turned to Cory in that "I hope you can hear what I'm thinking" kind of way, and asked him (with my eyes of course) what we should say. Should we tell her on her baptism day that all those fun things you believe in when your a child are not real and that we've been lying to you all these years? Then Cory looked at me with the "honey, don't worry, I've got this" kind of look. And he said, "Katelund do you believe that Santa is real?" She said, "yes". Then Cory said, "Well, there's your answer then." There was silence is the car. I looked at Cory with a "good answer, I hope that works and we don't have to discuss this any further" kind of look. Then she spoke up once again but this time wondering about the Easter bunny. The conversation went the same for the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, and if Santa's reindeer really fly. Luckily, she was satisfied and then we changed the subject back to her baptism.
The baptism was beautiful in every way. Grandma Mann spoke on baptism, Grandpa Black spoke on the Holy Ghost. I haven't heard such beautiful and perfect talks at a baptism. Then Grandpa Mann read "the poem". The poem that I had heard about from a girl in our ward. Her Grandpa (who is our stake patriarch) had read this poem at all of his granddaughters baptisms. Once I heard that, I knew that I wanted to start that same tradition with all of my girls. So, since this was Grandpa Mann's first granddaughter to be baptized (and he has 9 more to go) I thought it would be perfect to start the same tradition in our family. (You can click here to read it.)
After she was baptized, I went back to help her get dressed in her beautiful white dress. As I wrapped her up in her white towel, my tears started flowing as I told her how proud I was of her. Then she wrapped her little arms around me and through her own tears she said, "Mommy, I can't believe I'm finally baptized." It was such a sweet moment. As I held her against my chest, my mind took me back to the day that I held her for the very first time. Here she was again, just as perfect, clean, and pure as she was when I first stared into her angelic eyes and realized that I had become a mother.
Katelund, Cloey, Abby, and Ethan sang the closing song, "When I am Baptized". But on the second verse, I had Katelund sing it by herself. She sounded like an angel. As she sang, her face shone with conviction and conversion. It was as if through those beautiful notes, I could hear her testimony speaking from her spirit to mine.
Makalya was blessed on Sunday, August 21st. She was our first baby ever to cry through the entire thing. Cory did a great job considering the fact that he had no microphone and a crying baby. He always gives such beautiful blessings to our girls. When my mom was here with me she shared with me an impression she had while she was making Makayla's afghan (she makes a beautiful afghan for every new grandbaby...it is the pink one in one of Makayla's pictures above). She felt like Makayla was going to be special. I don't know exactly what that means, neither does my mom, but I know that it is true. I know that she has great things in store for her and that she has her very own unique role to fill in our family and also in this world. How grateful I am for another precious little girl in my life.
Two Sundays ago was Katelund's first time to do a real fast. I had explained to her before her baptism that once she was baptized she would still have the choice to fast or not to fast, but, if she chose not to, then she would be breaking a commandment. I knew this would be very difficult for her, especially since I had always given her the choice and except for one time (when we had a family fast for Aunt Amber), she had always chosen not to. I told her that she could start with just fasting one meal. She chose lunch. After church, as Cloey, Hailey, and I (I'm nursing so I can't fast) all sat down to eat lunch together, Katelund was struggling with her decision. She broke down in tears and Cory and I explained to her that it was still her choice, but if she was going to cry and complain the whole time then it would not be fasting, just unhappily skipping a meal. She sat there and thought about it for a time and then she said, "No, I will not eat because I do not want to break my covenants with Heavenly Father." As she said this I could feel my heart swelling up within my chest. It was at that moment that I knew that although she doesn't know everything, she knows enough.
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