An infant was baptized in church today. All in white, fuzzy headed, screaming mad at life in general. I smiled, realizing how it feels to be on the flip side, the one who at one time held the screaming infant and felt as if everyone in the room was silently judging. Instead, the rest of us who had been there, done that, we smiled and nodded and cuddled up closely to the memories of when our now not-so-little children made us doubt what we were doing.
Not that my not-so-little children don’t make me doubt what I’m doing on a regular basis. Just in different ways.
I had forgotten, until today, that when BigBrother was baptized in the same church that we now attend again, the Children’s Choir sang a beautiful song after the baptism. They did so again today, and my eyes filled with tears that I fought to blink back. Swept back six years, I remembered standing in front of the church holding my one month and one day old on my first wedding anniversary and feeling both overwhelmed and overjoyed. I wonder if, in six years, today’s parents will remember the joy of being together, the beauty of children singing for another child, instead of the cries of their little boy.
December 18, 2005 — Apparently scared out of my mind.
February 3, 2008 — Very tired.
I look back at the pictures taken on each of the boys’ baptism days, two years apart, and I know that they must have been harried mornings. Baptized at one month and two-and-a-half months, neither boy was yet sleeping through the night. If I look closely, I see the exhaustion in my eyes brought about by days and weeks on end with interrupted (or no) sleep. I’m sure it took all of the energy and dedication we could muster to get out of bed that morning, make ourselves look presentable in the same sweater as it was the only one that fit and make our way to church. But the truth is that I don’t remember that rushed feeling, the exhaustion, the worry that there would be a diaper blowout accident, thus ruining the baptism outfit. I just remember standing up with my son and husband and feeling a peace.
It’s funny the way the mind works, erasing the bad and leaving you with the good, the encouraging, the stuff that lets you keep going forward. I’m hoping that the mind continues to do so and I’ll someday forget about the not-eating and the eye-rolling and the not-so-awesome stuff of where we are in parenting right now. Someday I expect to look back and think, “Oh yes, that was the point in time when BigBrother learned to read and LittleBrother wanted to help us do everything from make dinner to paint vehicles. Wasn’t that a lovely time?”
Because it is. Even if they cry in church — during their own baptism. Even when they refuse to eat. Even when you call them upstairs — three times — to get ready for church when you’re already pushing the envelope to get out the door on time in the first place. Even when they sing Scooby Doo for the umpteenth billion time. Even when they tour every bathroom ever made. Even when they roll their eyes.
This is a lovely time.