Even though I have a 3 1/2 year old miracle boy, my motherhood has often felt more defined by loss than by life.
But suddenly I have a 3 1/2 week old miracle boy here with us as well. And life is beginning to be the pervading essence in our home. (At least for now.)
And it is beautifully refreshing. What a balm! What a respite! What a catch-my-breath miracle!
And yesterday was the drop that tipped the scales on that point.
It was Asher’s baptism.
For three years, we have sat in the church pew and watched family after family baptize their precious babies. And for much of that time, my husband and I have sat there crying. Weeping. Grieving. Wondering. Pleading.
Yesterday we were the ones who were asked to come to the front, to stand in front of the altar, to make promises before God and our congregation, to offer a charge to our baby, to pray a blessing upon him… Us. Our family. Our baby boy.
My mother sewed him a gorgeous white gown, with French seams and tiny buttons and tucks and trimmings. She embroidered his name on it, along with “Baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” and yesterday’s date. And because it was a cold, snowy day she also sewed him a full slip and bonnet. She also gave him a white onesie that says “loved” and pale blue BabyLegs for underthings to keep him doubly cozy.
He wore his great-great-grandfather’s gold baby ring (along with one that was given just to him, for his own family heirloom), which is another reminder that he is part of the bride of Christ.
Steven wrote a beautiful charge and prayer for him.
I put together a reception for ~200 people afterward, where we served a light lunch of breads, meats, cheeses, olives, grapes, and cake (plus wine).
My parents hosted a family dinner celebration in the evening at their home, with white and gold decorations, white flowers, rich food and wine, music, people we love (and who love Asher), and another prayer of blessing.
The whole day was focused on life. Asher’s life. His life here on earth and his eternal life in heaven. The life that God has called him to, and the life that God has called us to nurture and disciple.
But Asher’s life does not exist in a bubble. And his life does not erase the immense pain we have endured as we have suffered the death of seven of his older brothers & sisters. And I wanted to somehow acknowledge them yesterday, even if it was just privately to myself. My mommy’s heart needed to know that all nine of my children were remembered as the youngest brother was given the sign of the covenant, as the waters of baptism dripped off his fuzzy red head.
So I wore a corsage made of seven baby white roses. My dad bought them. My mom made the corsage and pinned it on me. And a couple people actually commented on my corsage, and I was able to tell them that the seven roses were in honor of our heaven-babies. And I knew. The whole day, I knew what I was wearing and why. As I held my baby in my arm, and held my big boy’s hand, I wore a remembrance of their siblings. And I can’t tell you how that image blessed me.
Thanks be to God for His incredible gifts.
Not the least of which is our sweet covenant son, Asher Timothy.