Juniper, July 12, 2009

Juniper, July 12, 2009


1 : devoted to a cause, ideal, or purpose : zealous <a dedicated scholar>
2 : given over to a particular purpose <a dedicated Web server>
— ded·i·cat·ed·ly adverb

This morning was Juniper’s (as well as our dear little friend Ellie’s) dedication.   I always think a baby dedication must sound like an odd sort of thing to the outside observer.  Baptism is a much more culturally known ceremony (one our particular church reserves for later in life, when a person personally becomes a believer).  A christening is likely to involve water, and perhaps evokes the concept of officially bestowing a name.  The Jewish Bris for baby boys serves a set purpose… but what is this dedication thing?

Unlike other Christian ceremonies like baptism and communion, there is not really a Biblical precedent for dedicating a child.  Hannah presented her son Samuel to the Lord in 1 Samuel 1 in fulfillment of a promise she had made to the Lord should He hear her pleas to end her years of barrenness.  As soon as Samuel was weaned, she took him to the temple to live and serve the Lord, to be raised by others in the house of God for His own purposes.

That is, of course, not what we did with our daughter today.  Lord willing, Juniper and her sisters will continue to live in our home under our care until they reach maturity, but we have nevertheless, in a very real sense, dedicated them to the Lord.   We have recognized that each of our children is a gift from God, and that we are only stewards of them for a short while for His purposes.  Ultimately, we must give them back to Him for whatever His will may be for them.

But every God-fearing parent knows all this, and having a ceremony to acknowledge it has no magical powers to make that process any easier.

In fact, what took place today was probably a lot more to do with Junie’s parents than with the star of the show herself.   A dedication is a chance for us to reflect on the enormity of having a little life given into our nurture and care, to thank God for her, and to beseech our church family to pray for us as we carry out the task of training up a child in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  As we dedicate her, we are also dedicating ourselves whole-heartedly to the fulfillment of our “high and holy calling”  (as Pastor Wayne used to say) of parenting.

Sure, it’s a big day for her: a chance to wear the same beautiful dress her sisters have worn before her on their dedication days (thanks, Erin!).  But the bigger day, the one we long for and pray for daily, still lies ahead: the day that she recognizes for herself that she is a sinner in deperate need of a savior and accepts Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as payment for her own sin.  We cannot make that decision for her, but we entrust her into the hands of a faithful, loving, sovereign God.

Visitors, Parties, and Sickness, Oh My!

Whew!  I don’t know if I’ve ever been more grateful to come out the other end of a weekend.

After two days straight of cleaning, washing, shopping and otherwise preparing for their arrival, I am happy to report that Trevor’s family got here safe and sound on Saturday night. All five of them! This visit, we have Mum, Dad, and Nathan as well as Grandma and Auntie Audrey, who haven’t been here since our wedding! That’s ten people staying in our wee four-bedroom Cape Cod (you do the math.) It’s a good thing we like each other. So far the sleeping arrangements seem to be suiting everyone: every time I ask Auntie if she’s *sure* she’s comfortable on the mattress on the floor of the playroom she says, “Oh, yes, Dear, it’s absolutely marvellous! I’m taking it home with me.” Oh, how I love her. Nathan might not be enjoying the sofa quite so much, but he’s certainly not complaining about it, and you can handle anything for a week, right?

So, yesterday was the big day:  Beatrix’s dedication and Romilly’s birthday party.
Photobucket Photobucket  

(Trev’s mum with Bea, and Trev with Ro)

I haven’t actually counted, but let’s see… there were 27 people in my house yesterday! (Remember my house? The tiny little Cape Cod? Yeah, same one.) And it was really fine. I’ll do it again, I think. (You know, not next week or anything. It’s like labor, you have to give yourself time to forget.) Ro held up like a trouper through the endless present-opening (thank you, everyone!) and when she finished, we chose one toy to get out of the packaging and play with before her nap. Do you know, as soon as she got the toy in her hot little hand, she slid off Trevor’s lap and went running to share it with her sister, saying “I need my Pippa!”? I just love that kid. She’s definitely my favorite.

As you can probably tell from the picture of her, the poor birthday girl has been hit with the plague that’s been making it’s way through the toddler Sunday school class, and by the time they went to bed, Pippa was suffering, too. It seems to be mostly a coughing, snotty sort of affair, but when Pippa coughs too much she often gets gaggy and ends up throwing up. So she did a bit of that last night and then took herself off to bed (you know things are bad when a three-year-old does that!) At about ten o’clock we heard her cough some more, then cry a little, and then silence. We let it go rather than wake her up by checking on her. When Trev went to bed a bit later, he peaked in their room as he always does, and found her *covered* in puke vomit hmmm… is there a nice bloggy euphemism for this that I don’t know yet? How on earth do they fall back asleep after that?!? We did our best to clean her up with a warm washcloth, changed her top, and put a clean towel between her and the mess on her bed, but really, short of a bath and complete change of bedding, there wasn’t a lot we could do for her. And she was just *so* fast asleep.

This morning at 7:15 AM, I faced the ineveitable aftermath of the night before, and gave Pippa (and Romilly, who is never to be left out) a bath.  Seriously, I thought I was going to have to shave her head.  I haven’t had to clean up something so foul-smelling and unaccommodating since the time Gulliver ate a stick of butter.  But, we persevered, and I’m happy to report that (by some miracle) she is a picture of health today and we’ve had a lovely day with the family.  Sadly, we did suffer one casualty: Pippa’s little musical ducky that she has had since she was a tiny baby was unsalvageably covered in sick.  She doesn’t know it yet, but he’s out with the birthday party trash.  I’m home now with the napping littles while Pippa and the gang celebrate President’s day with a trip to Valley Forge.

So my house now looks pretty much how it did before I started cleaning four days ago, and the girls’ room still smells a little funky, but there’s nothing like a whirlwind weekend to make you appreciate the status quo. Even when the status quo involves *double* the already large number of people living under our little roof!