There are certain milestones that are held near and dear in the hearts of many - baptisms, communions, Quinceneros, christenings, baby blessings, Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitvahs and so on.....
My youngest son was baptised yesterday. Remarkable? Not particularly - then again - he was 2 years and 5 months past the "age of accountability." The decision did not come easily to him, just as it had not come easily to his brothers before him. I would tell my children during family meetings (Family Home Evenings is the standard LDS term) - that they might one day come to realize that the LDS faith was not for them - it is not for everyone - it is not for me any longer - another story for another entry. I told them under no uncertain terms that I would always love them unequivocally no matter what they decided about religion. And not in that "we love all our children, even though, so and so is inactive, and so and so married a non member, and so and so didn't get married in the temple, and so and so did not serve a mission." We have all heard the expressions - in casual conversation and on occasion the LDS ritual of once a month "Fast and Testimony" meeting - or - in the words of my dear friend: "Lie and Cry Sunday."
The first Sunday of the month is an opportunity for faithful Latter Day Saints to fast or abstain from food or drink (except for those with health reasons) - for two meals/24 hours and donate the proceeds to the fast offering fund so that the local Bishop can distribute the monies accordingly to members in need.
Bryce had the fortune to be born of goodly parents - well - sort of - Dan and I are good parents for the most past, but tend to let our feelings get in the way of acceptable co-parenting on occasion. Bryce has been going to church on and off for the last 7 years with his dad. How do I know this? There is an amazing woman - I met her at Girl's Camp years ago - she is Jenny - I gave her a set of Primary Children's songs on a CD when she converted to the LDS faith years ago. Primary is the junior Sunday school in the LDS faith. She asked me last year, after seeing Bryce at church if she could give them to him. I don't know if Bryce ever got them. I do know that Jenny spent hours online trying to convince me not to leave the LDS church when she realized that my beliefs no longer aligned themselves with the teachings of the LDS church. Jenny joined the LDS church alone - just as I did - all those years ago - I am not sure what support she received from her family, but I suspect it was not 100%. Jenny is great - she is a returned missionary, is feisty, is working on her Master's degree in nursing and will be an awesome mother one day, if she chooses to be.
What I do know, is that in the last 7 years, Bryce has had birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving and a myriad of holidays without me - yes - 7 years of missed events. It has been incredibly sad for me, but I put it away in a place where it is not too painful. Honestly, if I thought about it enough, I would not even get out of bed some days - it is that sad. I am learning to live with it - Bryce is getting older, I am finally working on getting some good parenting time/visitation worked out with his dad and so it goes.....
When Bryce called me a week ago last Friday and shared the news that he had finally made the decision to be baptised, I was elated and told him I was incredibly proud - that decision did not come lightly to him. And then I realized that I would not be able to get a flight at a reasonable price. I promised him that I would be there. I figured I would fly standby if needed. It so happens that I am on a very limited budget right now - I had to choose between medicine for me or a ticket for Bryce's baptism.
I chose the medicine, so that next month, I can be healthy and go and see this son of mine whom I have not seen since he left Utah in February of 2005. For the life of me, I don't quite know how I made it through that day - I stood there in the frigid temperatures, in my pre-shower clothes - I watched him being driven away by his dad. His brother, Tye and I clung to each other and sobbed. I don't remember what else happened that day, but I did know for sure that the feeling of seeing him leaving was the very same feeling I had experienced when I knew for sure one morning 10 years ago that my marriage to Bryce's dad was over - no more hours and hours of counseling, no more tries - it was over. I was on the floor in a pink nightie. I got it so I could look somewhat respectable in the hospital. How ironic - I had a new baby and was filing for divorce.
Tye - his older brother - baptised Bryce yesterday. I hear Bryce got some new church shoes. I have his scriptures here and will take them to get them engraved. I will write the inscription in them, as I have for my older 3 sons, and will bring them to him when I see him at church in a few weeks.
I am reminded again of Tye's first tattoo: "Only God can Judge Me."
Now if only I could get one of those boys to serve an LDS mission - peace corps - something :)