The baptism was filled with love, happiness, excitement, as well as discomfort, pain, and frustration. Looking back - it was such a blessing for Jayda to experience that because that's what life truly is. It's facing something with determination and grace and having the faith to go forward because it's the right thing to do. It sounds dramatic, but truly the experience (for an 8 year old) was pretty intense. The water heater in the church was broken and it had been snowing for days - which meant frozen water in the font. I don't mean cold water. I mean frigid, dangerously cold. We had good friends running back and forth to the kitchen to try and boil water to dump in the font in hopes it would take the edge off, but no luck. We knew it was cold, but it wasn't until Russ got in first that we realized how cold it was. It was so cold that he lost his breath getting in and within seconds his legs were in pain due to the freezing temperature. Friends asked why we didn't reschedule or postpone - but we were already there and family had traveled far and Jayda was ready - so we went for it.
Jayda took one step into the font and immediately stopped. It was so cold she didn't think she could do it. Russ said he'd do his best to hold her high out of the water until he had to dunk her, but when you've got one hand up and one hand on your kids head there's not really much you can do. Jayda started shaking and her little teeth started chattering. Russ said the words and dunked her. She came up trying to catch her breath with a look of pain on her face because it was so cold - and then we realize that her dress wasn't completely submerged so they had to do it all again. I'll never forget watching her grip her daddy's arm, with blue lips, and tears as she did it all again. This time Russ dunked her and swung his leg over her body to make sure she was all the way down. It was aggressive - but it was necessary. He knew they needed out of the ice water and she couldn't go again.
Jayda walked up the steps into my arms and started sobbing. She said it hurt so bad and she couldn't breath. I took her dress off and was shocked to see her entire body completely covered in purple splotches. I towel dried her off as quickly as I could and then I sat her on my lap with the blow dryer on her body to warm her. We got her dressed and met the rest of the crew in the Relief Society room where we listed to Dallas and Karen speak, Austin and Grammy perform a duet on guitars, and Papa and Dallas helped Russ bless and confirm her. Grandma Axtell, although wasn't there in person, was there in spirit and hand made the most beautiful white quilt and white jacket to wrap Jayda in - it was such a blessing because she truly needed it!
During the baptism Jayda could have backed out at any time. She could have had a bad attitude or been angry. She could have gotten upset and ruined the opportunity to feel the spirit. But she didn't. She handled it all beautifully and now realizes that she got a taste of what pioneers experienced. What it would have been like to been baptized in a freezing lake simply because you want to make those covenants. Although the whole thing only lasted a few minutes, she realizes that's how most of life's big decisions are made - in moments. Quick decisions in the midst of life is what take you down certain paths and I thinks she learned that keeping the Lord as the focus of those decisions may seem hard or uncomfortable at the time, but is a sure fire way to guarantee peace and happiness in the long run. ...and if nothing else, she'll always remember her baptism!
The day continued with a birthday lunch celebration in the church cultural hall. It was rainbow "it's Great to be 8" themed and turned out great. It truly was a memorable day!
Jayda - this is the sunrise the morning of your baptism! Isn't it glorious!
Our next door neighbors, Miss Julie & Vicki took me to the Knights Hall and helped me make hundreds of color mini pancakes the day before your baptism. They turned out sooo cute!
The last week of January was spent with family. We went on a tour of the Capital Building with Papa and Grammy, sightseeing and eating with Austin, Dallas, and Karen. And Grammy gave Jayda her first official ukulele lesson.