To think that I am a mother to an 8 year old is a bit of a scary concept. I know we all say this with each child, on each of their birthdays, but 8 just feels so big – I have an 8 year old – it really doesn’t feel like I have been a mother that long! Last weekend was Ethan’s 8th Birthday, and aside from being weirded out by that fact, we had a wonderful couple of days together (and with friends and family), celebrating him and his choice to be Baptised.
Being members of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints, turning 8 is a big deal! It is the age we believe that children are more accountable and therefore able to understand their choices (and consequences of them).Therefore it is the right time, if the child chooses, to get baptised, and then confirmed (which follows), to help them to make good choices. Ethan loves going to church every week (most of the time) and enjoys learning about Jesus – he believes in him with his childlike faith, and to act on this faith, and with a desire to want to live a christian life, he made the decision to be baptised on his 8th birthday this last Sunday.
Ethan was baptised by his dad and by immersion too. This is a symbol of lying down the old and being born again a new person – washed clean! They wear all white as a symbol of purity, and he wore the same trousers his dad had on his baptism day almost 30 years ago! We were joined by friends from church, most of our family and some of his friends from school. We had a service where we sung his favourite songs, a couple of prayers and heard little talks about Faith in Jesus Christ and why we need to be baptised, as well as one (by me!) about the holy spirit and his confirmation (also by his daddy and assisted by his uncles!). His grandma sang and then his aunties and I sung a song too. Before it ended Ethan too got up and said a few words about why he chose to get baptised (because Jesus is his friend and he wants him on his side!) and then we had a good old buffet and socialised with all of our friends and family, sang happy birthday and ate some cake! It was great!
The whole thing was also rather surreal. It was so spiritual, joyful and just wonderful to be able to see my first child be baptised and take his first steps on a path that both Nathan and I see as being important. We spoke a lot about it that night together and how well it had gone and how lovely it felt too. Seeing one of my kids be baptised is such a big milestone in a parents life (as well as theirs), there suddenly feels way more pressure to help them make good choices and teach them the importance of doing so and I felt both overwhelmed at the concept of this, as well as intense gratitude for this ordinary, and yet very special moment for our biggest boy. I am grateful for Ethan as our son – he is such a good boy and a very deep thinker. I know he thought a lot about this choice and understood the reasons why!
Ethan’s 8th birthday was a lot of fun and very special too – I think we will be talking about it for a while yet! From Saturday, where we had fun at the fair – going on rides and playing “hook-a-duck”, and then Sunday too which was so special with friends and family. He got his mini jukebox that he was so desperate for (the only thing he asked us for), and thoroughly loved his birthday weekend. We had pancakes on Sunday, McDonalds on Saturday, and mini discos ever since.
At 8 years old I want to remember how he has taken to kissing me good night with big puckered lips. I want to remember how he has a gang of friends that call him “Smithy” and who have made our shed their “little lads club house”. I want to remember how they play out every day together and how he has such passion for music, lighting and gardening. I want to remember how much he loves to get his hair done and gel it, style it, and have top knots! I want to remember how he loves to speak in church, how he keeps a cluttered bedroom no matter how much I declutter it. I want to remember how every bedtime I go upstairs to see him sat in his PJs completely engrossed in a lego project, and I want to remember how sensitive and thoughtful he is too. How helpful he can be and how much he enjoys playing with his sisters.
Happy 8th Birthday Ethan – you made us parents and make us laugh, nutty and proud (most days!).