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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Baby Baptism Adventures (Week 28, Day 3)

What an eventful couple of days! After a few days back at the office, we took Friday off to welcome family from out of town to celebrate Madeline’s Baptism and our membership into our Church. We’d spent the last few months going to different churches in Chicago, to find the one that Phil and I felt as a couple we’d like to be part of. We knew that as a family we wanted to have one church to raise our family in, and had discussed around the kind of religious upbringing we’d both had, and what we’d like for our daughter. After visiting a few churches near us, we had attended a service at St Pauls United Church of Christ, and both of us left the service feeling like this was the right place for us. Now, after attending the new member and baptism classes and meeting a few more people in the congregation, we were sure that this was the place we wanted have Madeline baptized.
We had a great weekend our families. Friday, my older sister and her son flew in from Boston, and Phil’s Aunt Caroline flew in from New Jersey. We spent Friday afternoon in the suburbs letting all the babies play together - including Maddy’s cousin Jake. It was fun to see all the babies in their different stages of development - watching Maddy struggling with getting on her knees, and so close to crawling. Jake, now walking but still awkward on his feet, but loving to explore his independence. And Jack, the oldest of them all, barely able to sit down because there was WAY too much exploring to do. Seeing them interact was awesome, and you could see a glimpse of the fun they will have when they are all walking/talking little people. The Aunts/ Great Aunts loved sitting back and watching and relishing these first few days with the babies.
As part of the weekend adventure, my sister Meagan and her 17 month old son Jack were staying in our shoe-box apartment with us. I wouldn't have had it any other way - with baby bedtimes between 5-7, I was certainly not going to miss seeing my sister for the rest of the night while we sat in two separate places. And as we have a two bedroom apartment and sleeper sofa, this meant the babes were going to have to sleep in the same room. Meagan and I were both nervous about how this would work - with Maddy not yet sleeping through the night, that meant Jack could potentially be waking up throughout the night as well. Friday night was the first test, and both Maddy and Jack did surprisingly well! Maddy still woke up throughout the night, and while Jack would rustle around and at one point stood up in the pack and play to look and me, he laid right back down and went to sleep. Win for the mommies!
Saturday my parents came in for the weekend, and we had a great time taking Jack and Maddy to the Lincoln park zoo to see the animals, and playing at home. Having both my sisters, my parents and Jack and Maddy together was such a treat - I didn't want the day to end. Phil's parent's and Aunt came down for the afternoon as well, and our little shoe-box was packed to the rafters with people that love our little girl, and we spent a lovely afternoon together eating dinner and catching up.
Sunday was the big day - Maddy’s baptism. It unfortunately followed a rough night - after being off nap times and sleeps times for the last few days, Maddy wasn't enjoying crib time any longer, and at about 2 AM I conceded and slept in a chair with her in my arms for the rest of the night. Before I went into her room, I found my sister sitting up on the side of the sofa, saying she didn't feel well. When I emerged from Maddy’s room at 6 AM, I learned that my pregnant sister had been sick all night, and had either food poisoning or a very strong virus. She hadn't slept at all, and was feeling terrible.This was not exactly the way I thought the day was going to go.
Luckily, no matter how old you are, parents always come to the rescue. After a 7AM call to mom and dad, they were showered and over to our place in a snap, ready to help with Maddy and Jack so that we could get ready for the baptism. Meagan was in no condition to go to the church, so she crawled into bed, and my Mom stayed with Jack. I was sad not to have them all with us at the church, but knew it was the right thing to do.

The Baptism ended up being a very special ceremony. It was new membership day at the church, so along with Maddy being baptized,Phil and I became members of the church. The church had recommended this, and it was a special way for us all to be welcomed into the church’s community. We had met several people through our new membership class, so it was neat to see them again and know they would part of the congregation.
When the time came for the sermon to start, it was also right around Maddy’s nap time. She fell right asleep, and slept quietly in my arms throughout the sermon. She continued sleeping right through Phil and I walking up to the front of the church and saying our new membership vows. She even slept through most of the baptism, right up until the moment I needed to hand her over to the pastor to have the baptismal water put on her forehead. She couldn't have been more of an angel through the whole thing - she opened her eyes, happily went to the pastor, and looked around at him, and the entire congregation, as if to say “What’s the big deal?” There was no crying, no stranger danger, just my confidant and curious little girl, facing the world head on. I couldn't have been more impressed with her. Although the day didn't turn out quite as planned, it was memorable none the less.