We’ve done birthdays and birth days, we’ve done first holidays – Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving – but on Sunday we did something so incredibly special, it topped all of these firsts. Yesterday, my husband and I dedicated both of my babies, Leo Joel and Ava Victoria, to the Lord in a Christian Dedication ceremony.
My husband and I were both baptized in Catholic churches as babies. We’ve both grown up in Catholic families, and we’ve both been exposed to Catholic traditions and beliefs. It certainly isn’t that we don’t believe in these unique details, but nowadays it’s so difficult to find people who are special enough to be Godparents, and people who have completed their Catholic Confirmation, all in one. From both of their births we knew who we wanted as Godparents, and since we don’t attend Catholic church regularly, a Christian Dedication seemed like the perfect decision for our family.
The dedication took place at Northland Church in Longwood. Northland is home to Leo’s very first preschool, and it also holds fond memories of worship before all of my growing up occurred. I love that church, and I love that they love us back. At Northland they do their dedications completely separate from the regular church service, and they keep it quite small, just six to eight families each Sunday. You can participate in baptism with a Holy water ceremony, or a dedication with a candle ceremony.
So we woke up bright and early as always. The ceremony wasn’t until 2:00 in the afternoon, which was a bit tricky considering both of my kids are usually quite tired by then. We left super early, one, because we had to pick up the cake, and two, because my husband is a time Nazi. It was drizzling outside when we arrived (35 minutes early, might I add) but the day was so sweet on my heart, I didn’t mind one bit. Family began pouring in, and I was so delightfully proud considering how often it is that the whole gang shows up late. We waited in the lobby, snagged a few pictures, and Leo ran around with his cousins playing and laughing. I watch my boy play and laugh most days, but to watch it in the presence of God really gave me some motherhood glory. We had waited a long four years to dedicate him, and the little bit of guilt I felt vanished the second I saw his little smirk.
The nerves were building incredibly, as they had asked parents to prepare a very short and sweet paragraph to recite during the ceremony. I love to write, hello Living Lex, but speaking my words in front of a crowd of people really axes any and all confidence of mine. My husband swears he stutters, which is why he is forever asking me to do the speaking rather than him, but after this occasion I think it’s time to pass the honor!
The second they began the ceremony, the simplest opening to “How Great is Our God,” tears started streaming down my face. I am the most emotional momma when it comes to my kids. I mean, I know we all are, but I am the greatest and easiest crier of all time. And in such a spiritual and emotional setting, the tears were just unapologetically uncontrollable. A few songs and the Pastor’s prayer later, it was time for the family portion.
My and my tribe, along with the Godparents we chose for each of my babies – my sister Ariana, our good friend Ryan, my sister-in-law Alyssa, and my husband’s uncle Israel – headed up to the mic. I introduced us rather well, but I was just a few words into my recital when my throat closed and tears began to well. I apologized to the crowd for my shaky voice, but a few of my family members teared up right there with me, so I forced out my last few sentences and gave the Lord a giggle, for I expected nothing less. The Pastor took both of my babies, he asked the Lord to bless them and commented on how amazingly beautiful they both are. My husband lit their candle, and we headed back to our seats. Short and exceptionally sweet.
We concluded the ceremony with commitments from both the parents and the Godparents. We committed to giving these babies back to God, for we know that they are ours to raise, but His to keep. We committed to teaching our babies about God, about worshiping Him, loving Him, and spending time with Him. We committed to working together to raise these children and guide them down the Christian path, and most of all, we committed to love them and the Lord Himself.
After the ceremony we took tons of pictures, I mean TONS. We had so many people attend, certainly more than any of the other families, but with one Puerto Rican half and one Italian half, that’s just the way it goes. Ava was delirious and Leo was ready to run circles around the place. So I did my best to move it rather quickly and we headed to Olive Garden for a celebratory dinner.
Olive Garden hit the nail on the head when it came to hosting us. They had tables ready for thirty (YES, THIRTY) people when we arrived, we sat immediately, and we were given three waitresses to help our meal run smoothly. We all sat together, conversed together, ate together, and celebrated the most joyous day for my little ones. I brought the most delicious cake, the Publix Chantilly Cake, to thank everyone for coming together today, and we concluded the celebration.
I can’t quite put into words why my emotions were running so deep, but I can certainly try. Sometimes as a mom and as a Christian I feel like there’s only so much I can control. I can do my best to teach them manners, to teach them kindness and respect. I can do my best to feed them healthy food, gummy vitamins, and sippy cups full of flavored water. I can give motherhood every inch of effort I’ve got inside, every bit of energy I have built up, but I know deep in my heart that God is who will ultimately take care of them. One day I won’t be here, I won’t be able to touch them and hold them, or speak to them and guide them. Dedicating my children back to the Lord gave me the greatest sense of comfort I think I will ever find. He will do all of those things I can’t, and He will provide all of those things after I’m gone. The promises I made to the Lord during that dedication are promises I intend to keep, and I know after yesterday, He will always keep my children underneath the wings of an angel.