Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dedication Sunday

On Sunday, March 15 we had William dedicated in church. William's godparents: John, my brother, and Shannon, Chris's sister were there and stood with us. Chris's mom, Sheryl or "Nana" to William was also able to be with us.

The morning started off just fine. Church starts at 11, so typically William can take his usual morning nap before we have to leave. This Sunday, he slept a bit late and I had to wake him up. He wasn't very happy about that and preceded to cling to me, and only me for the rest of the morning.

I felt a little frustrated with his attitude and could easily imagine this becoming one of those Sundays where the family spent the morning fighting but pasted on smiles for the service or something.

We were supposed to arrive a little early to meet with the Council chairman to go over the service. We were late, but only by a few minutes. William typically goes to the nursery for the service, but on this special Sunday he would be with us for the first 40 minutes of the service until the dedication was finished. He sat still for a couple of minutes during the worship music, but was soon off and running. I took him to the back where there was another little boy playing.

Then the dedication started and Chris, William, John, Shannon and I all went up front. Scott, our church counsel chairman led the ceremony and did a really great job of describing why we dedicate our children -- to give him back to the Lord and have the Lord do as He will in William's life.

Then he did something I hadn't anticipated. He prayed over me. He explained that I would be, for the first few years, William's primary teacher and influencer. He prayed that I would be a mother who led her son to a relationship with Jesus.

I had never really thought of my role in that way. I'm just his mom. But listening to his words over me had a powerful effect. Even now, two weeks later, I remember that prayer and it gives me peace, assurance that God is with me; it reminds me to rely on God when I doubt my ability.

Photo Credit: Matthew Ronan
Then he asked Chris and I if we would dedicate William to the Lord. We responded, "We do." He asked John and Shannon if they would commit to assisting us and supporting us in raising William.  They responded, "We will." And he asked the congregation to support and help us as well.

Then he asked people from the congregation to come and pray over William. I think ten people came and laid their hands on us and prayed and anointed William with oil.

It was a short ceremony, about 15 minutes. But it was very special. I've given God back the most precious gift he has given me, our son. I didn't think I would feel different afterwards or think differently, but I do in a way. I feel more supported, by people, yes--but mostly by God. I know He has been there all along, I guess I was just forgetting about him or not acknowledging Him in our daily parenting.

I do wish we would have done this earlier for two reasons 1) I could have/should have felt more dependent on the Lord earlier, when the beginning was so challenging and 2) William would have been easier to hold for 15 minutes!

William Bradley, you are a gift from God. We love you and are so grateful to be entrusted with you. We dedicate you to the Lord and ask Him to use you for His purposes. May you trust in Him and follow Him all the days of your life.

Photo Credit: Matthew Ronan

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Family Visits Continue

I mentioned earlier that we had William dedicated on March 15. We picked that date because Shannon, Chris's sister, who is William's godmother was already planning to visit us during her spring break. Chris's mom, Sheryl was able to join us for a long weekend too. 

A quick note about the living arrangement: Sheryl and Shannon stayed in a hotel and my brother stayed with us in our apartment. After my brother and Sheryl left, Shannon did stay with us for three nights. It would have been quite crowded had we all attempted to stay together especially since we moved our bed into the living room a couple of weeks ago!

Sheryl came on Friday and stayed through Wednesday. Since both Chris and I had to work on Friday, she spent the afternoon biking through the city and over the Golden Gate Bridge. She came over in the early evening and played with William and then played with us after he went to sleep. We played games most evenings this week.

On Saturday, Chris and Mom went out for brunch and ran some errands before Shannon flew in. Sunday morning was the dedication (more to come on that soon!)

Sunday afternoon we headed to the park for bubbles and basketball. One of William's favorite things is watching and joining the guys on the basketball court. He even does the shooting stance!

Chris took Monday off and joined his mom and sister on a hike in Muir Woods. They did quite a long hike and had a really great day for it. They returned home late afternoon and rested. Sheryl took us all out for dinner. William doesn't frequent restaurants often and just wanted to explore everything. The owner was super friendly and available so she actually helped entertain him! Of course, William signed "all done" as soon as our food arrived.

On Tuesday, I took Shannon and William to the beach. From inside our apartment it looked warm and sunny, but the wind off the ocean was vicious. After just a few minutes of playing in the sand near the water, we had to move; we found a sand dune we could use as a shield from the wind which made it quite pleasant. 

Shannon and Sheryl played with William while I made dinner and finished up work. Having extra hands is so helpful! 

Wednesday morning we all had breakfast together and Shannon went to work with Chris. She had some projects to work on and wanted to see the studio he works in. Sheryl left for a few hours while William napped and I worked and then joined us for lunch before her flight back to Texas. During her visit we had an opportunities to spend some one-on-one time together while William played nearby. I really enjoyed that and so thankful she was able to come for the weekend and dedication.

Wednesday night, and again on Friday night Shannon babysat for us. On Wednesday night we had dinner with some friends we hadn't seen in a long time. It was a very enjoyable night for us and I hope Shannon enjoyed a little bit of downtime. Friday night, Chris took me out to dinner and then to the symphony where we heard pieces by Handel and Haydn. It was a lovely night out.

On Thursday, I came down with a cold and took off a day of work (ended up taking Friday off too). Shannon was a wonderful help with William while I napped and took it a little easier. Being sick while you have company is the worst time to be sick. I would have much rather just taken a vacation day and actually done something fun with my guest!

Chris took Friday off of of work and brought Shannon and William to the California Academy of Science. William loves the fish and getting to go twice in a week was pretty cool. He still walked around saying "ooh" and pointing to everything. I'm sure Shannon, the science teacher enjoyed it too; although having to keep an eye on a toddler doesn't give much time to take everything in!

Shannon left Saturday morning and now our home is empty and a little quiet. William misses our visitors and isn't quite sure why I'm the only one at home to play with him again. We had such a wonderful time with everyone and realize once again how blessed we are by our families.