It’s hard to believe, but the littlest Lawlis turned one at the end of September. He got his first 4 teeth this past few weeks, he’s starting to walk short distances when he thinks we aren’t looking, and he’s starting to sign a little. We’re loving it. Every day, Justin comments on some new aspect of how adorable F is . . . one can easily understand how, when A was about this age, we decided to give him a brother. 🙂
This past Sunday we held a party in F’s honor, and in what I guess is now a family tradition (if 2 times = a tradition), we dedicated him during the festivities with many of our friends and family present.
Having grown up in church, baby dedications are something I saw regularly. A beaming couple brought their baby up on stage, the pastor asked them a few questions (almost like vows for parents) and then he prayed with the family. Even if I didn’t know the couple (most times I didn’t), it was always a sweet moment to witness — just sensing how special it was for them as parents.
Justin and I thought about it and realized that to us, it would be more meaningful to dedicate F with people who do know us well and who will be around as our boys grow up. We aren’t currently connected to a big brick-and-mortar church, and sometimes I wonder if we will ever be. But we do have a tribe, and it seemed important to make our promises with them there.
So, Daniel — who, after marrying Justin and I, marrying my brother and his wife, and doing both our dedications, is now considered the family chaplain — sat down with us in our living room, a little packed with our nearest and dearest.
Justin and I sat, holding hands. I got a little teary, as I always do at such moments.
Dan asked our family and friends if they would stand with us and support us as parents . . . if they would cheer on our son as he grows. They said they would.
F, unaware of the solemnity of the moment, stuck a matchbox car halfway in his mouth and was quite pleased with himself.
Dan asked us if we would be an example of love and grace to F . . . in our love for each other as well as for our boys. He asked us if we would raise him to care about people — all people, including outsiders and misfits — the way Jesus did. He asked us if we would raise our son with grace and be willing to say we’re sorry when we make mistakes, as we of course will.
We said we would.
Dan prayed. And that was it.
Such a simple thing, but a powerful thing. To have my dear friend and mentor walk Justin and I through yet another set of vows, to have our friends and family around us, to fumblingly ask God for help in raising our boys . . . it was a tangible reminder that J and I aren’t alone in this. During many of the unexpected challenges of the past few years, I’ve often felt alone, but we aren’t. It was good.
And there was cake.
Thanks to everyone who made it out (and those who weren’t able to make it but who love and support us all the same). We’re grateful.
I was generally a photography fail the rest of the time, but here’s a sweet moment with Grandma Rich after folks went home.