Yes, it was a whirlwind, but a wonderful, exciting, emotional whirlwind. My oldest child has been baptized! What an experience. I thought about this day, dreamt about it, worried about it, wondered if she would get nervous, oh - the thoughts never stopped flying through my mind. Funny thing how the very things I worry most about seem to go off without a hitch, without fail.
My parents AND my in laws arrived within about 5 minutes of each other on Friday afternoon. It was a sunny, though windy day, and we spent some time doing the whole "house tour" etc. I was especially glad I could show them the yard and garden because my mom, MIL, and SIL know a LOT about gardening and gave me the heads up about what was actually in my garden (the perennials) and what I can do to care for them. My parents and in laws were very happy for us to have a nice yard, and I think they liked the house too :)
My mom has 2 pomeranians that she is breeding, and her female dog just had puppies about 24 days before, so she had 5 dogs she brought with her! LOL! They were precious and my girls loved them sooooo much. I was worried that they wouldn't be gentle, but they were so good with those little guys. There was one slight mishap, but not serious - though we weren't sure for a while. It was no one's fault, though, and the puppy was fine. The girls bawled when they had to leave at the end of the weekend. I think they were more upset about seeing the puppies go than their grandparents! LOL!
Friday we mostly caught up, which is hilarious with a larger group. So much fun. We fed them hamburgers, potato salad, veggies etc. and just sat around together. It was nice. My in-laws went to the place they were staying, and my parents brought out the gifts they bought for the girls... animal costumes, clothes, treats..you know, grandparent stuff! They girls loved them and are still wearing them every chance they get.
Saturday went slower than I thought, and smoother. I spent Saturday morning getting the girls bathed and ready for the big day. Oh, and I even managed to do a little something with myself :) We had everyone over for sub sandwiches and salad before taking off to the church for the big event! My hubby had to be there 3 1/2 hours early to fill the baptismal font, so while he was there he photocopied the programs I made, put together a beautiful table with the programs, a flower arrangement, and the baptism scrapbook I made for TJ. It looked wonderful! What a guy. He also set up all the chairs.
The bishop was there when we arrived with half of their children. His wife arrived with the other half shortly after. TO our surprise and delight, one of TJ's school friends came with her family! TJ had insisted on invites for a couple of her school friends and one of our neighbors. I made some up for her and she brought them to school happily. I didn't expect any of them to come, but they did and we were so happy to see their support. It was wonderful, and a great example of her fearlessness in sharing the gospel with her friends. The Primary president came as well, with her kids. It was a small gathering, but a very, very joyful one.
Our fathers gave the talks on baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. They were BOTH excellent! My dad talked about the many steps we take along the path of life. He made footprint cutouts with the different steps written on them (birth, faith, repentance, baptism....) then pointed out to TJ just how far she's come already. It was a beautiful visual lesson that I think will stick with her for a while.
My FIL also used a great object lesson to describe the gift of the Holy Ghost. He held up two eggs which looked identical. He explained that though they look the same on the outside, they are not the same on the inside. He said that to see what is on the inside, all they need is a good turn. He spun the eggs around on the table, and while one spun very slowly a couple of times, the other spun wildly until it stood up on end. He explained how we know what's on the inside by what we do etc. and related that to having the guidance of the Holy Ghost. I can't do his explanations justice, but it was a fantastic demonstration that will also stick in her mind, I'm sure.Hubby baptized TJ, and it went very smoothly. I helped her change afterward and asked her how she felt. She said "I feel cold, but happy!". Typically TJ. Hubby also confirmed her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and through the power and authority of the Priesthood, he gave her the give of the Holy Ghost. It was very special and I will always remember it.
After the program we all went out to eat at Tony Roma's restaurant (all 20 of us) and had a delicious meal (I had the original ribs ....oh, yummy yummy yum yum), where TJ opened a few special gifts from her grandparents, cousins, and friends. She received a beautiful set of scriptures from my parents with a scripture case and her name etched on the cover. She also got a jewelry box from (I think) her grandparents, though I'm not sure, which she LOVES! From our friends, the Howies, she received a beautiful journal which I am encouraging her to write in daily. I showed my parents around the city we live in, including the Temple. We visited the rest of the evening, as well as getting my dad addicted to the Wii. Yes, he nearly beat my hubby in golf! Nice! I did, however, beat both my hubby and my mom down in boxing. LOL! I'm one tough momma.
My parents left early Sunday morning as they had 2 days of travel ahead of them. My in laws came to church with us, then left to head back to Calgary. It didn't feel like nearly long enough of a visit, but I was so grateful that they made the trip - especially my SIL and her daughter, who is 2 weeks younger than TJ. I'm sure it wasn't an easy trip for a 7 year old, but TJ was so happy to have her there. My SIL was also only days away from another long road trip, so I was especially grateful she made the exciting trip out our way :) It was better than I could have planned.
I have a renewed determination to teach my children well. They are already on the right path, trying to make good choices, trying to do what they know is right. I felt such a feeling of peace this weekend, and pure joy. My SIL commented that I seem very happy here. I would have to agree. I truly and in every way love it here and know without a doubt that it is where we are meant to be. This weekend also brought back many fond memories of my own baptism, and how far I've come since then (it's been almost 22 years!!). It's funny how life comes full circle, and witnessing this special ordinance of my daughter was one of the most amazing experiences I've had.