On January 1st, 2007, my long-forgotten childhood crush knocked on the front door. He was handsome and charming and wonderful, and he swept me off my feet. Exactly five years later, on New Year's Day, he blessed our baby boy.
It was fitting to celebrate our past five years together by marking a major milestone on our new path ahead. The past few months with Jake have been such a dream that experiences such as this seem to be the little pinches that confirm, yes, this parenthood thing is really happening. He is really ours.
Baby blessings are an important ordinance in our church, in which babies are officially given the name which they will be known by on the records of the church and are then given a special blessing to help guide their lives ahead. The night before Jake's blessing, after all the holiday festivities had died down, Matt and I laid in bed and talked late into the night, discussing our final thoughts on what we would like Matt to say in the blessing. It was a beautiful thing to spend so much time vocalizing our hopes and dreams for the life of our little boy and the man that he will become. We found it to be a formidable task to condense such things into just a few minutes of speech.
|Jake wore booties made by his Great-Great-Grandma Chamberlain.|
The morning of the blessing, we timed things ever-so-perfectly to make sure Jake would be a happy, sleepy baby during church. We woke him up earlier than usual, bathed him, played with him, fed him and swaddled him, but despite our best efforts, he was wide awake at 11 o'clock. When the time came, Matt took Jake in his arms and stood in a circle with our dads, my Grandpa Smith, Matt's brothers, my uncles, Jordan, and Chase, to give Jake his name and a blessing.
Matt thanked our Heavenly Father for our sweet little baby, and blessed Jake that he would be happy and find joy in the gospel and in the world around him. He blessed Jake that he would have the courage to stand for what is right, that he would live a life of integrity, and that he would one day lead his family in righteousness. Matt blessed Jake that he would desire to draw closer to our Savior, and said a few more words before closing in Jesus' name. It was beautiful.
Jake was calm, content and quiet throughout the entire blessing. He just didn't want to miss it, I suppose.
I was so grateful that my grandparents could be there. Both of them have had many health struggles throughout the past few years, and though my Grandma has struggled the most, it is now my Grandpa who is on dialysis and whom the doctors are most concerned about. The simple fact that he was able to participate in Jake's blessing will always be so special to me, and the simple act of sitting next to him and Grandma during that church meeting will forever be one of my most cherished memories.
After Jake's blessing, my Grandma took her frail, arthritic hand, and lovingly squeezed mine. Minutes later, as the Sacrament was passed, I held the water tray for my Grandma and watched as my Grandpa lifted the tiny water cup and gently fed it to my Grandma. It hadn't occurred to me before that this was something she could no longer do herself, and watching my Grandpa help her was so sweet and tender that it brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to freeze that picture of them forever.
I thought of them, fifty years ago, blessing their first baby. I thought of all the happiness and hardships they've encountered throughout their lives. I thought of the immense, enduring love that they share and the compassion that they so openly bestow upon one another. I thought of the incredible examples that they are of what a marriage should be. I thought of how much they mean to one another. And then I remembered my Grandpa's illness and the doctor's warnings and my mom's worry, and I wondered who would be there to help my Grandma take the Sacrament when he is gone. I felt the tears welling again as I pictured her heartache, and then all at once, my mind came back to the reason for the Sacrament, our Savior and His Atonement.
In that moment, I felt so much gratitude toward Him and His mercy, and His plan of happiness that will allow all of us -- my Grandpa and Grandma, Matt, Jake, and I, and all those in our families -- to be together forever. This knowledge brings so much happiness to our lives.
After taking a few pictures outside, we drove to the seminary building where my mom hosted a delicious lunch for our family and closest friends. Matt's parents and siblings had all made the drive down, and many of my aunts and uncles came to support us as well. Our friends Chase, Ali and Brian were also able to attend. We spent the next few hours passing Jake around as we visited with our guests.
It was so wonderful to share Jake's special day with so many people that we love and that love him, too.