This event was too important to lump into the big November post. On November 2, we joined our families and church family in dedicating Eloise to the Lord. I know that I talk a lot about how important our church is to us, and moments like this is really hits. It's incredible to me to think about how in this sacred space I have been baptized, married, ordained as a deacon, and dedicated both of my children's lives. That's a lot of sacred ritual for one place and one body.
Eloise means healthy and Ann means grace. Her life so far has been an incredible testament to both those meanings. She has brought so much healing and redemption for me as a mother to experience all things typical and healthy and whole. If that's not grace, I don't know what is.
Here's what I wrote to Dr. Bob when he asked to hear a little about Eloise and our hopes for her:
"Eloise has been a great joy for us, especially given the difficult start we had with Clara. This taste of "normal" has been very redemptive and healing for us all. She is truly the happiest baby that I have ever known, content to be held and talked to by anyone. She is flexible and easy-going and so laid back. We are blessed by her sweet and gentle spirit. We love squishing her rolls, hearing her laugh, and seeing her whole face light up with smiles. It has been an enormous joy to watch Clara love on her little sister and to see their sisterly relationship already begin to blossom into something that we hope they will both always treasure. We hope that Eloise will always know how much she was prayed for and desired, how special she is, and how deeply we adore her. Her very presence reminds us of God's grace and love. We hope that she will grow to learn that God's love is the greatest gift to any of us and that she'll love others well because of it."
We were so thankful that all four of her grandparents, all four of her aunts and uncles, and all four of her cousins were with us to celebrate this sacred day. We were also especially thankful that Ken Meyers, our associate pastor was able to be a part of the service. He retired soon after, but since he did Robert's and my pre-marital counseling, helped marry us, and dedicated Clara, he has felt like an especially significant part of our young family's beginnings. He will be deeply missed. The rest of our church family all stood with us and promised to help us raise Eloise in the church, to teach her the stories of our faith, to show her Jesus' love, and to pray for and wait for the day that she might accept Jesus and join us in baptism and communion.
Eloise wore the same dress that Clara wore to be dedicated in, a gift from their great-great Aunt Shirley and Uncle Cedric. This bonnet was mine.
After the service, Aunt Trina helped put together an absolutely beautiful and delicious lunch for our families. I am so grateful for her hospitality!