I have learned a lot of things since becoming a parent. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to let go of my pride. There was a time when I would have been mortified by the way things went at Lilly's dedication. I would have been gritting my teeth, possibly thinking very bad thoughts and definitely wanting to strangle my child. The whole thing would have been ruined for me, and all because of my pride.
Thankfully, God has given me the chance to work on that area of my life a lot. (How's that for a positive spin on things?) He has helped me realize that you can't control your children. As much as you want to, try to, threaten, cajole, bribe, push and beg, in the end, it is up to them. So you train them, and teach them, discipline them and more than anything, pray for them, and then you leave it to God. And sometimes they act like little monsters, I mean little kids, and you don't waste time getting embarrassed. Because that is just about your pride, and your desire for you to look like you've got it all together, all figured out, that your kids, your family are perfect and nothing ever goes wrong. The truth of the matter is, I don't have much figured out, and we are far from perfect.
Here is what happened. 2 weeks ago, we had Lilly dedicated at my parent's church. We have done that for all the kids, because it is a very special thing to be able to share with our kids and their grandpa, Dziadzi. I guess I still have a bit of pride, because I made sure Lilly had a cute new dress, her bow was just right, the boys were wearing ironed shirts, and we all looked spiffy. Until it was time to go up to the front of the church. By then, Lilly's bow had nearly fallen out, every one's clothes were wrinkled and the boys had no interest in standing in front of the church. James was embarrassed and wanted to stay with his cousins. I chose not to argue with him at that moment so he stayed there. William came up in Aaron's arms. He then proceeded to whine the whole time, to squirm and generally make a nuisance of himself.
I remember James' dedication. It was sweet and beautiful and I was fully present throughout the whole thing. William's dedication was more challenging. James, age 2, did not want to be in front of the church, and wiggled and squirmed the whole time. It was harder to concentrate and I was embarrassed by how badly he misbehaved. I failed to remember that he was 2, and standing in front of a group of strangers is hard for an adult. I was just mad that he was making me look like one of those kind of parents.
I have to say, that this dedication was worse still. I am sure at one point I will laugh about it, but I am not there yet, letting go of my pride and all. William eventually got so bad that Aaron left, but when it came time for my Dad to pray over Lilly and us, he wanted Aaron to come back. He also wanted James and William to come up. William cried through the prayer. James had his face buried in my leg. I really can't remember the prayer.
A few years ago, this whole event would have made me cry with shame. But you know what, sometimes my life is like this. I can't always get my kids to do what I want them to do. Hello! That is why we were up there in the first place. We were seeking prayer for ourselves as parents as much as we were seeking prayer for our daughter, the best behaved of the bunch at this point. And while this may seem like I am trying to excuse my kids' bad behavior, I'm not. William faced consequences for his actions. James and I talked about how he should have come right away when Mommy asked him to. We prayed together for forgiveness. In the end, it didn't really matter if the boys didn't stand up there perfectly like I wanted them to. What mattered is that my grandma, my Babci came. That my brother was there. That Nana and Papa and Granny all came forward and prayed for their little granddaughter. That Lilly's cousins, Scotty, Cora and Lizzy were there. That her Auntie Jess and Uncle Mark came. It mattered that a whole crowd of people who have known Aaron and I since we were married, or longer, were there to witness this special moment in our lives.
As all of the drama was unfolding, my Dad kept saying it didn't matter. It didn't matter when William was squirming or crying, or James didn't want to go up front. Dad has an amazing ability to tune things out and focus on the task at hand. We actually tease him often about this, but in this case, it was good. All that really mattered is that we were making a statement that Lilly doesn't belong to us. She is the Lord's. We vowed to do our very best with her, and made it obvious that we sometimes need help! Thank goodness for the prayers and love of family and friends.