(Unitarians don't have many rituals, but this is one of my favorites. And today it's Dashiell's turn, just like his sisters before him.)
And now we have the great joy of welcoming a new child to the world and to our religious community. We welcome this child with joy and wonder at the miracle of life, and embrace him as a member of the community of humankind by formally giving him his name.
We humbly thank the Spirit of Life which brought him forth and bestowed him upon his family and the world for a blessing.
And we pledge our support to his parents and families, recognizing that we all have the power and responsibility to shape his world.
(adapted from words by Kenneth Patton) Humanity is our responsibility; human beings are that part of the total universe that we can do something about. To our children we can give our love, our care, our respect. It is a sacred trust and a transformative power.
Could the parents of Dashiell please come forward?
(Parents/guardians bring child to front of church, accompanied by godparents.)
Minister: [taking the child in her arms] What is the name of this child?
Parents give full name of child.
Minister: Dashiell, we welcome you and we give you this name as yours forever.
And from now and into the future, the names will become what you make of them. May your life make them a blessing to the world.
You are unique. There is no one else like you in the entire world. Your parents and your family and all of us welcome you in all your uniqueness. We give you this rose, different from every other rose in the world, as a symbol of your uniqueness and beauty.
We welcome you to this community. Water is the stuff of life; water connects all living things, all of humanity; this particular water comes from the Water Communion services of many years. The rose is dipped in water to symbolize your essential connection with all of us in this community.
Minister touches the rose to the child's forehead, hearts, hands, and feet, and gives the rose to the child.
May your life blossom as beautifully as this rose.
(Minister gives the baby back to the parents to hold.)
Litany of dedication: Charge to parents
Minister: Dashiell is not only your son but also the child of life itself, with its infinite possibilities and myriad forms of beauty. To you is entrusted the sacred joy and privilege of guiding him in life in all its possibilities and teaching him to recognize his own path, hoping that he will find his own truth and live his life according to his spiritual ideals.
Do you, then, promise to the best of your ability, by your example, your teaching and your affection, to raise Dashiell in the ways of truth, beauty and love?
Parents: We do.
Charge to congregation
Minister: Members and friends, adults, youth, and children of the (our church), chosen community of this family, will you please rise as you are able?
No child grows up outside the influence of his community, and no parent raises a child alone. If our hopes for Dashiell are to blossom, we must water them with love and commitment, creating the community for him that we wish to see flourish in his time.
Do you promise to freely and wisely love and respect this child, to offer him your steady presence and best selves, to nurture and sustain him and his family as they learn and grow and change together?
Congregation: We do.
Let us join our hearts together in the spirit of prayer and meditation.
We give thanks for this new life that has come among us. Each new child brings us new hope for a new beginning. We see the great potential that lies in every human life, and we know this child will bring his unique gifts to humanity, if we help him to do so. May we recognize and nurture the unique gifts of this child. And through all the challenges and joys to come, may this child’s life be blessed with hope and courage and love. And all blessings, always, on this family.
The ones who know that staying home with kids is work, too, but who choose who work outside the home because they need to (and, maybe, wish they didn't) or they like to (and, maybe, wish they didn't).
The ones who would like to slow down. Just a little.
The ones who've taught their kids to do their own pony tails in the morning so they can have five extra minutes to shower (because they know it takes exactly five minutes to shower, dry off, lotion up, put on deodorant, and get dressed—if they don't have to wash their hair).
The ones who schedule meetings and phonecalls right after school drop-off and hope they can make it in and out of school without having to chat anyone up.
The ones who would like to chat someone up at school drop-off sometimes.
The ones whose third babysitter quit yesterday.
The ones who take their kids to a daycare center and they wonder if their baby is getting enough hugs.
The ones whose entire paycheck pays for the nanny.
I've discovered that men have stong opinions about what their son's hair looks like.
With the girls, it's apparently okay if their long curls look as if they've just spent a day on the North Shore riding the waves. The first month or so that Dash was born, I think all the teachers at Bunny and Wallie's school new that Papa was in charge of the morning routine. When I saw their hair "styles" at the end of the day? I was almost embarrassed enough to wake up every morning and comb it myself.
Almost. Priorities, after all.
With the boy? Things are different. We took him to get "lined up" when he was 4-months-old. I wouldn't have thought of it, but Papa didn't like the scruff around the ears. Or the scraggly baby mullet forming at the neckline. Dash does have lots of hair for a little dude, and okay, I admit, it was starting to look a little messy. I never thought I'd be one of those moms with a son with a buzz cut (I even wrote about it), but now? I kinda get it. There's a fine line between fashionably messy and just plain unkempt. (Where is it?! Where is the line?!)
A mom friend told me that she takes her son in for a trim every six weeks. Six wha-? I don't even cut my own hair that often. And girls go twice a year—they get a back-to-school cut and one around Easter. Or when I finally notice that all the year-round swimming they do is taking a toll on their ends.
The Bundle is now 3.5 months old. He babbles constantly and is adored by his sisters.
He is 16 pounds of chunk.
He sleeps in his crib nowadays instead of tucked under my armpit.
But sometimes, if he falls asleep under my armpit after nursing in the middle of the night, I leave him there.
I thought I would have weaned him by now, but we're still going because he has taken a bottle since he was born. (With the third kid, you learn some things.)
Bunny and Wallie are officially 4th and 2nd graders. School ended yesterday.
We move in a week, just up the road a piece, closer to San Francisco. We need more space now that The Bundle is here and if we move out of Palo Alto, everyone gets their own rooms.
Bunny and Wallie don't want to go to a new school and it kinda breaks me up inside, but I know that they will make friends quickly. I've signed them up for as many camps as I could squeeze into the summer, all through the park and rec department of our new town. Gotta be some new friends in there somewhere.
Work is amazingly, incredibly, exhaustingly busy. I eat, breathe, and sleep Clever Girls. There are nine of us now, and we're about to hire our 10th employee. And a couple of summer interns. It's a real, honest-to-god business. We offer full benefits and pay for people's iPhones and stuff.
I can't wait to move so I can start cooking again. Really cooking. Baking bread and canning pickles, cooking. The kitchen I've had for the past two years has been beyond lame.
I don't feel any pressure to blog regularly. I hope that's okay.