Melina kept the "pretty" in her hair for the morning dress rehearsal, but that was it. By the time we got her dressed, she had ripped it out and refused to have it replaced.
Devon loves the part of The Cat in the Hat where they fly kites in the house, and mother's new gown with the spots that are pink, white, and red gets caught on the string. Craig once explained that it was just like something Mommy wears to church, and since then we haven't been able to get through a reading without a comment from Devon about Mommy's church attire. As you can see, I rarely wear skirts to church. It's something about the risk of bodily exposure from the top and bottom of a really nice outfit while running after an escaping child or wrestling one over the French door of the nursery dropoff.
The girls, however, scored lacy new dresses on January clearance to wear for the special occasion, and maybe even the upcoming family wedding if the colors are right and they still fit.
On Sunday, July 20th, we brought the girls before the church to be dedicated to God. All members of the immediate family usually accompany the baby to the stage so the family can be presented to the other church members. Since Devon is still so little and needs constant supervision, we decided that he would be much more comfortable with Miss Alyssa and Miss McKenzie in his usual Sunday School class.
As it turns out, it was enough of a job handling the girls. You always wonder how kids will react in a new and potentially stressful situation. Melina gazed out over the congregation, a perfect little doll in Daddy's arms. She allowed the pastor to pick her up and hold her for a few moments, smiling an aloof little smile.
All the attention went to Carrie's head. As we walked out on the stage, she high-fived each of the worship band members as they were leaving behind us. Then she turned around and waved a friendly and expansive "Hi!" to everyone in the first row, not going on to the next person until each responded to her. The friendly greeting from the pastor's wife and the visiting pastor seemed to give her a special thrill. At this point, she tired of being in my arms and tried to get down. I shifted her to the other arm and whispered a "no", but she wasn't buying it. She tried to shimmy down my body like a fire pole, and my grip on her tightened. When the pastor introduced her, she was hanging upside down with her legs around my armpits. When he tried to give her a friendly kiss, she acted horrified and sucked her thumb, clinging to me in an ironic display of shyness. By the time pastor was praying for them, I was turning her like a rabbit on a spit to keep her from getting down and running straight down the steps.
After Sunday dinner, we sang "Jesus Loves Me" together over a strawberry and vanilla dedication cake. All three of the kids' names were on it.
I honestly can't remember a word that was said over Carrie and Melina, and I wish I could've taken a moment while forcibly restraining my child to think and pray. Like most other moments in parenting, you can either DO it or think about it. You don't have time for both.
The important thing is, Carrie and Melina belong to God. We didn't give them to Him by dedicating him, but rather recognized that they already are his. We hope one day they will give their hearts to him as a matter of their own choice. Until then, we do our best to teach them about God.
And we ate some really good cake.