I went outside last night, with my husband, to enjoy the cooler night air. It wasn’t really cool, kind of muggy actually. But, with the remnants of a passing storm still above us, the gold rays of light shone through the clouds and lit up everything they touched. It was beautiful. Sprinkles started to fall lightly on our heads and I was happy.
With all the stress and confusion of life, I have been remiss in sharing, outwardly recognizing all the wonderful things I have experienced lately. Most importantly, the baptism of my daughter, Antoinette Kierstina Hird. I use her full name to honor the significance of the event. Also, because I think it is so beautiful, and she radiates beauty. You can see it, though, until she feels completely comfortable around you, she won’t let you in to feel the warmth. Since she was a tiny baby, I have said that her smile lights up the world. I hope anyone reading this gets to experience that at some point. As I have watched her grow, I have seen that it is not just the world that lights up, but it’s her world. She is loving, eager, mischievous, and strong. No one can slow her down, when she’s in her world. I feel so blessed to have been invited in.
Antoinette was beautiful the day she was baptized. She was so excited to be dressed all in white. Not knowing fully what to expect, she clung to her dad and I. She knew the covenants she was about to make. She knew how she and her daddy we going to step down into the water and that she would be fully immersed, and then brought back up, clean. She had practiced that time after time in our living room, only without the water. She knew that her family would be there to watch her and was so excited to have her cousins, uncles, and aunts there to share in her excitement. What she didn’t know, was who else would be there. There were five children being baptized that Saturday evening and that meant eyes watching her that she was not familiar or comfortable with. I watched her as she moved along with the group of smiling children and their dads. We separated by ward. Ours was first. We only had Addie and one other little girl being baptized in our group. People she knew, mostly. She seemed a little less stiff as we went in to the baptismal room. McKenzie went first. My little one was glad of that. She could see everything done before she needed to do it herself. Next was her turn. As Antoinette stepped into the water, all inhibitions seemed to leave her. There was my eager girl again. She didn’t want to wait to take her daddy’s hand down the steps. She just marched down them. It looked more like she was running. Of course, no one could see that but me, standing in the wings, and Stephen, waiting for her in the water. Then she was baptized, washed clean. My Antoinette took one of the most important steps in her life and she shined.
We went to the Relief Society room with the rest of our family and friends. Here she would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and be confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As Stephen and her uncles and friends laid their hands on her head, I could feel the stillness of the room. Her daddy blessed her and confirmed upon her the gift of the Holy Ghost. A gift to have the Spirit with her as a constant companion. I could feel his calming, warm presence there and tears came to my eyes when Stephen told her how proud he was of her and that her family that had gone on to the next life before her were proud of her as well. He told her how much she was loved by her Heavenly Father and her eldest brother, Jesus Christ. When the blessing was over, she sat back down beside me and I could see her internalizing all that had happened.
We came back to the house, made dinner and played. Our house has never seemed so packed and full of excitement, laughter, and let’s just call it as it is, noise. I loved it. I was so proud of my family, my husband for his worthiness to hold the priesthood and perform these wonderful ordinances, my son for being so proud of his little sister and for saying the prayer in front of everyone, my youngest daughter for sitting by our neighbor and fellowshipping her (what a good example she is for all of us), and of course of my Antoinette for being such a faithful young lady and taking her first step toward returning to our Father in Heaven.
We had so much fun with our family in town. My favorite was going to the beach. I don’t know what it is about the beach, but it calms my spirit, enlivens my spirit, helps me to feel free of any stresses in my life. We had a big group. I think there were 19 of us in all. We played volleyball, built sand castles, buried people in the sand, boogie boarded, and played in the waves and surf. I can’t believe I didn’t have my camera on me. It was so cute watching the baby boys play in the sand. I’ve never seen a baby so careful about the sand that he eats. Hopefully, Megan and Natalie will put up pictures. I’m not sure they took that many, but more than I did for sure. Another thing to be remiss about. I’m not going to write fully about the trip. There is too much. I really did love having them here though. Thanks to the Cameron’s, Craghead’s, and Bogle’s for joining us.
I have to remind myself occasionally of how blessed I am. We are still waiting on word for when we need to be out of the house for repairs and so we are still living in a house that is all packed up. On the bright side, I am sitting here right now with my children playing all around me. My husband will be home this evening and we are going to a friend’s house for date night. Tomorrow is the weekend and I will have my family all around me and who knows what adventures that will bring.