I've been anticipating Samantha's 8th birthday for quite some time now. And it wasn't with grand, happy anticipation. What's so big about the number 8? In the LDS church, it is the designated age when children have crossed a certain threshold of understanding -- when they are able to more fully understand right and wrong -- and so, it is when they are typically baptized in our church. It's a significant time in a child's life. They are old enough to say that this is what they want. They understand what they are doing. And, if that child does choose baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then it is something that they really look forward to. After baptism, they are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It's a gift and a promise; if this child keeps her end of the deal by following the commandments and truly trying their best to be a representative of Jesus Christ in their thoughts and actions, then the Spirit will be their constant companion. What an amazing gift. A member of the Godhead will be with them at all times to confirm truth, to whisper promptings to their hearts and minds, to sanctify their efforts.
Samantha is eight.
She is my oldest child.
The one who typically leads the way, sets the example.
She did not get baptized.
Doctrinally speaking, I don't have an issue with her not getting baptized. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the innocent are protected. His sacrifice is enough. When I was younger, I needed to enter the gate through baptism...and most of us do. But Samantha is perpetually innocent. She doesn't even have the ability to sin. She is one of the purest individuals living on this earth. That is amazing. And I should have been filled with more love and gratitude because of the simple fact that I live with an angel. Instead, I mourned the fact that she didn't have the need for baptism. We talked with our ecclesiastical leader earlier on in the year who informed us that there was no need for her baptism. I struggled with this for months. I cried about it. But it was never about her getting baptized, because again, I fully understand and agree that Samantha is nearly as perfect as they come. She will never sin. She has no inkling of what malice or deception even is. Her baptism was symbolic of how she would also never go to YW Camp, or to a dance, or...tell me how her day was.
So Sammy turning 8 was hard for me.
Marcus asked if we were having a party for her.
"Yeah, we'll have family over I guess. It's not like she's getting baptized and there's a celebration. We'll just do it like we do every year."
I was such a grouch.
But Marcus quickly changed my mind and I got so excited. All my sadness I put into a little party.
The goal was to have her surrounded by people who absolutely adored her.
We did Hawaiian flowers, pulled pork sandwiches, pineapple/coconut whips, rainbow cake, sensory sand play for the kids and coloring pages.
I was so happy and full of so much love.
I am so in love with this girl. Eight years has gone by so quickly.
|We didn't have sand, but we had moon sand. Close enough, right?|
|This picture was taken precisely .2 seconds before lasers shot out of Nate's eyes!|
|Not happy about something.|
|Sammy with Megan|
|Sammy's birthday cake.|
I can try all I want, but I'll never get a really great cousin picture.
(World Cup in the back)
|Sammy with her birthday tutu|
|Oh Sammy girl. I love you so much.|
|Best picture of the night. This moment probably lasted all of 1 second, but Marcus got it just in time, and I'll be forever grateful.|
|Sometimes you need a break from partying.|
|Our little family|
So Sammy's 8. And you know what? It's no big deal. She's still adorable and great and fun and perfect. All that anticipation was completely ridiculous and a waste of time, but the feelings were very real for me nonetheless. Celebrating our girl and the day she was born was just what I needed, I suppose, to remind myself that I really don't care that she doesn't do things like other kids her age...and never will. What I really care about is that she's eternally mine and that she's here with us.
That is something to celebrate.
I am so grateful.
My life is so full.