Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Marcus's Two Baptisms

(I wrote this one 2 kids ago... in 2007.. and I see not much has changed regarding my weakness and God's faithfulness!)

and then there were four.

Marcus's Two Baptisms
            It was a joyous day, and a cheerful morning for me, as I began to get the children ready to go to Marcus’s baptism.  I couldn’t wait to get him in his little white suit and tie, so I got him ready first, before the other children got up.  I had my cup of coffee in peace, and now I had my perfect little newborn dressed and ready to go.  I even had time to take some pictures!  I was feeling pretty good about my ability to manage four children.  Sure, it’s busy, but I am an organized, fun, flexible mommy, full of patience and coffee.  (I find it impossible to have one without the other.)   I had heard from other mothers that the fourth child can “make or break” a woman.  Well, it was obviously making me! I had everything under control.  I put tiny Marcus in his carseat, and he peacefully slept through the morning chaos.

            Aggie got up next, and as I got her a drink I noticed a pile of cat puke on the floor.  Odd- the cat must have had a hair ball or something.  Moving on, I got Seth dressed, then noticed more cat puke on the couch.  “Ok that is a little irritating.  Now I need to wash my favorite blanket.”  I ran downstairs to get my oldest out of bed and noticed yet another pile in the laundry room.  Meanwhile all the kids needed something or other, but it had to wait while I cleaned up those disgusting piles.  My kids do not yet get the advantage of coffee to help them learn patience, so things can get a little hairy, particularly since they all wake up thinking they are just on the verge of starvation or dehydration.  The noise level in the house got higher while they complained me through the clean-up process, but we all survived.  Marcus was still sleeping in his carseat, with an angelic grin on his face.          

          Breakfast was served, the kids were clean and pretty, and we were ready to go.  We were even a few minutes early, and though I was out of breath and a little sweaty, I was still feeling in control.  The toddlers had their coats on and were waiting for me to open the door.  And of course, my angelic newborn was still sleeping peacefully in his carseat.  I knelt down to buckle him in, and uh, oh… why is he wet?  Did his diaper leak a little?  

“Well,” I thought, as only a mother of many would think, “newborn urine doesn’t really smell so bad, so I’ll just wipe him off real quick and we will be on our way.”

“Wait a minute- you’ve got to be kidding me.”  I picked him up and sniff again.
“What mommy?”
“You’ve GOT to be kidding me!”  I feel around his carseat, which is completely drenched, not with benign newborn leakage, but with foul, eye-watering cat pee!  There I am, holding my newest little gift from God, who now smells so bad even I don’t want to touch him.  

The rest of that morning is kind of a blur for me.  I remember yelling, flailing, saying some words that patient moms never ever say.  I remember putting everything in the laundry and filling the house with clouds of Lysol.  I remember finding another pile of cat puke on my favorite magazine, blurs of tears, and Lorraine asking me “Mommy, why are you sad?”  I remember calling my husband to vent and realizing he was probably trying not to laugh.  I remember the blood boiling through my body and thinking that I needed someone to help me become sane again.

My sister and me on her baptism day :)
So I called my dear sister.  Now here is someone who understands frustration, anger, and temper tantrums.  Yet because of our shared childhood memories, her mere presence reminds me of puddle jumping, flour fights, and general delight in the messiness of life.  Simply being with her on the way to church helped the cloud of chaos and irritation dissipate a little.

I went to church smelling like Lysol that day, the sins and frustrations of the morning’s challenges still clinging to me.  Yet that is exactly how God met me.  I was not told to leave my imperfections at the door, to put on a shiny “church face” and join a church full of plastic people.  Instead I joined the congregation of sinners, stood with my church family and confessed with them my need for grace.  Then I got to see it applied to my little Marcus, to hear God’s promise once again bring forth new life in this family.  Like sunshine through the fog, God’s grace began to evaporate the challenges of the morning.  I have always been amazed at His love for the littlest ones.  But on this Baptism day, I was even more amazed at his love for big, tired, grown-up sinners like me.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

And now you know why we no longer have cats.


  1. There is something about the baptism day of a fourth child. On Ethan's baptism day, William, age 5 vomited when we were standing around the font. Then, after church for photos, Andrew then 8, made all kinds of goofy faces and rabbit ears, thus ruining all of the family photos. Thanks be to God that the photos are not what saves us!

  2. this stuff sure is funnier from a distance, isn't it Pam? :)

  3. LOL That is so funny, Emily, and so real. Some classic comments:

    "I remember yelling, flailing, saying some words that patient moms never ever say."

    "I remember calling my husband to vent and realizing he was probably trying not to laugh."

    Kudos to Josh for not laughing. Not sure I would have been as successful.

    thanks, Emily. God's grace is more than sufficient, for all of us

  4. I should ask him- I'll be he laughed when he got off the phone with me :)

  5. There is no rage like cat rage. We recently downgraded to an outdoor model. >^..^<

  6. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Unlike your husband, I am laughing. I totally know that feeling... :D

    (Cute cat Rebekah :)

  7. Oh my. That is just gross - sorry to say it. I was disgusted through laughter! We had a cat who would constantly pee on the couch, right between the cushions. I thought that was terrible. Now it seems downright acceptable!

  8. Ewwww! Cat pee, hair, & puke are all reasons we have only outdoor models as well. Nothing worse than THAT smell! Totally rolling with been there, done that laughter. My first's baptism I decided my nursing bra didn't work with my dress. Turns out neither does a soaking wet regular one! Ah memories!!!!!


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