Last night felt like a dream. I can't even believe it all happened and, quite frankly, I'm still recovering in every way! I gave a little (wobbly and fumbly) speech last night and told a little story. I told the story about the day Gavin died. One of the nurses that was taking care of him (and us!) knew that it was my birthday. She brought me a cake (which she said she wrestled with, not knowing if it was the right thing to do. It was more than perfect in my eyes). The cake said...
I looked at Ed. She couldn't have known that we were secretly celebrating life that day.
Hope's new life.
So yesterday, before we celebrated Gavin's life at the big event, we celebrated Hope. Surrounded by her family, her Godparents (my brother, Tom, and Miss Sara!), and Sara's Mom and Dad, Hope was baptized in the same church where her brothers were baptized... by the same priest that baptized Gavin and Brian, too... in the same dress that her cousins and mine have worn since 1958.
Many probably thought I was nutso for having Hope baptized the morning of the big event...
...and you know, maybe I was. But it was actually a beautiful way to start the day. A reminder of the hope we felt amidst the storm last year.
The dress is a family heirloom. My oldest cousin first wore it in 1958. My Grandmother hand embroidered each of her grandchildren and great grandchildren's names and birthdates on the gown until she just couldn't do it anymore. She was well into her 90s. You can see my name...
Kathleen Marie - 4-14-70.
Gavin wore the gown...
...Brian wore the gown...
...and then, Hope Margaret.
The priest who baptized all of my children is the same priest that married us in 2004. And the same priest that performed Gavin's funeral service. Father Kelly is very important to us. He did give us all a good laugh during the ceremony! He kept calling Hope "Spes Margaret." We all kept giving each other the side eye wondering why he was calling her by the wrong (and seemingly made-up!) name! It wasn't until after the ceremony that we realized that hope in Latin is "spes." So now, Hope has a new nickname!! Ha!
My Mother made a beautiful bib as a new tradition for our family. She took a napkin that her Mother had monogrammed for herself...
...and a napkin that my Grandmother had monogrammed for my Mom and sewed them together. It was a beautiful, beautiful gift.
We all left the baptism smiling and ready for the big night! Brian was very excited for the "playground party" and couldn't wait to spend time with his cousins!!
I will have professional photos to show of Hope's baptism at a later date.
If you are looking for an update on Gavin's Playground Project - come back tomorrow!! I want to make sure I have an exact total to give all of you... and I also want to wait until I have photos to share. I have so much to share about last night. And, if you check my Facebook page, lots of people who were there are sharing their experiences as well. It was an overwhelming, unbelievable night. The energy in the room of 400 people was amazing. I felt nothing but love all night long.
One thing I do want to share is the social experiment I did, "Give five for Gavin." I set a pretty lofty goal of $10,000 and in just a few hours, it surpassed that goal. As a matter of fact, donations are STILL coming in!! The latest total is $10,260! I'm seeing a new name highlighted on the thermometer every time I look at the page!! Thank you to everyone - all over the world - who participated.
I have so, so many reasons to be thankful.