They Seemed to Shine

On Saturday night, Henrietta slept through the night for the first time. No waking at 1:30 to cry it out. She just slept, and in the morning, when she woke up, I felt like she was my best friend and we had been reunited after a long and beautiful journey. If she were a little older, I would have begged to hear every detail of her dreams. I was so in love with her.

I set her in her highchair with a scattering of Cheerios so I could make my breakfast, and took pictures of her. Her sleep-through-the-night photo shoot.

And it was probably just my extra sleep, but at church that day, I somehow knew so much better how to deal with her. She sat on my lap through the first meeting, and I kept a steady stream of toys coming. One at a time: a block, a car, a little ball, another block, a zebra. A container of cereal puffs which I let her reach in to get for herself. She lounged on my lap, her bare feet rising now and then, and the flutter of the flower on her headband was movingly beautiful. It's when I noticed the headband flower's beauty that I thought, "This is what it must feel like to be rested. I'm rested. I must be rested."

When they brought the sacrament around--pinches of bread and water in little clear cups--I realized she would probably enjoy participating. It's the first time I've ever given her the sacrament, and I admit that at first it was just to buy us a few extra minutes. When you have an active baby/kid, you'll do just about anything to buy a couple minutes. I took a piece of bread for me, and another for her, and gave it to her. And quickly enough, the importance of what I was doing, the meaning of it, blossomed in my chest. I remembered being a kid, taking the bread and water when it passed, keeping the cup and playing with it until my mother took it away. I flashed through my adulthood, sitting every Sunday in those benches, taking the sacrament. I thought of all of the Sundays I had rushed to church, hoping to just make it in time for that ritual, and of all the Sundays it meant something to me, even when my faith was parched, nearly dried up. I thought of taking the sacrament in a youth hostel common room in Scotland with my BYU study abroad group, Loch Lomand still and magnificent out the picture windows.  I thought of being on bed rest when I was pregnant with Henrietta, and the men from my ward who came and knelt at the end of my couch, blessing a slice of bread and a cup of water from my kitchen, Henrietta moving inside of me while I listened to them pray.

She took the bread from my hand, and fed it to herself, splitting the piece in two to make it last. When the water came, I tipped it up to her mouth, and it spilled a little. Beads of water landed on her chin and neck, and in the lights of the chapel, they seemed to shine.


Terry said…
Beautiful. Thanks for the vivid picture!
belann said…
You captured the moment beautifully. So glad you felt rested. So glad you felt the sacrament.

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