Turning Eight

The details are fuzzy, but I remember the feeling I had as I sat in the back seat of my dad’s Plymouth Duster. I’d recently turned 8-years old, and today was the day my father would baptize me. But it was a cold and snowy January day in Ogden, Utah and I was convinced I’d miss the big day because my father was lollygagging the afternoon away running errands.

Of course, I was wrong. We made it to the church in plenty of time.

I sat on a chair next to my father watching several kids step into the baptismal font ahead of me and wishing my last name began with a letter closer to the beginning of the alphabet.

Those were the thoughts that ran through my mind as I sat next to my son who turned 8-years old the day after Christmas. Today would be his turn to be baptized.

Earlier this morning I ironed a crease in his new dark blue pants that he’d selected to wear with this white long-sleeved shirt. He looked sharp.

The only item he needed help with was his tie. I began to wonder if a clip-on model would have been a better choice after several failed attempts at a half Windsor. I removed the tie from my son’s collar and tied it around my neck before carefully loosening it enough to remove and place back on my son’s shoulders where I could cinch the knot. I know that’s cheating.

My son is becoming a young man in front of my eyes. The many small and subtle changes don’t scream out for attention. But they are there. Like remembering to comb his hair before school. Or how he shows patience for an active and sometimes moody little brother. Even his growing vocabulary is a reminder that he’s learning to express himself in ways that no longer sound like an episode of Blues Clues.

When it was his turn, I took Lincoln’s hand and walked into the font. With his siblings, mother and grandfather looking on, he was baptized.

Each year there are a few days I wish would last 48 hours. Today was one of them.

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