Blessing Weekend

Torrential rain was not what we wanted to see in the forecast for a weekend when we had visitors and plans. We were lucky–the rain was intense but passed quickly, and we were able to carry out all our planned activities. The peak of the storm did happen while I was driving one set of grandparents from the airport to our house, but it didn’t bother us too much and they were impressed by the greenness of our environment, since they had flown in from the arid northwest.

We always enjoy spending time with grandparents, but we see the others more frequently, so it was especially nice to spend time with Grandpa Tony and Grandma Renee. They wanted to experience the sights, sounds, and flavor of the area while they were here, so we spent some time as their tour guides.

Our plans included a trip to D.C. on Saturday morning, where we spent an hour looking for parking because of all the events. We drove by the Solar Decathlon and skipped the National Book Fair, but did wander into the the Worldwide Day of Play. Our guests wanted to see the White House, and it wasn’t too far away, but somehow we ended up with a very hungry baby while we were still way too far away from the car where we could feed him. Elena did her best on the forced march back to the car, while the rest of us took turns carrying Roman for as long as we could manage to listen to his crying at close range.

We thought it might be nice to have burgers and fries for lunch, but the Five Guys location we went to was no longer in service, and after the morning’s disastrous driving I was in no mood to drive the city streets in search of another, especially when we were right next to a freeway entrance. We headed home, but the grandparents were ready for more–they headed out to Annapolis for more sightseeing and crabcakes. Elena had fallen asleep in the car and woke up when we got home, which caused an immediate meltdown because we had promised her a trip to a restaurant with french fries. After unloading Jenny and Roman, she and I made a special trip to Chick-fil-A.

After that we didn’t have time to rest before the arrival of another set of relatives: Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Kevin, along with uncles Shaun (recently back from serving a mission in Guatemala) and Mark. The men and I went to unload the last of the Barbies from their house, then start the charcoal for our cookout, while Jenny and her mom finished getting all the food ready. When the coals were hot, everyone showed up as if on cue, including my parents and Leisa and Sam, the final guests for our weekend event. As with Elena’s blessing weekend, I felt especially manly running the grill at this special celebration of our child’s birth.

Sunday morning was Roman’s baby naming and blessing, the event that brought everyone together on this particular weekend. In our church all worthy men are ordained to the priesthood, and as a result I was the one who performed the ordinance with my relatives and close friends joining me. We stood in a circle and held Roman in our arms while I spoke words of guidance and direction. Roman was quiet for the first part, but started crying before I went on too long, so I tried not to torture him and the whole congregation too much. Of course he won’t remember this event, so Jenny and I sat down that evening to record some of the things that I had said.

After church we tried to take pictures of the whole group. At the outset, Grandpa Tony reminded me that this was the hardest part of any family get-together, and by the time we were done I was in complete agreement with him. Elena was having too much fun playing with her cousins to be still for even a minute of pictures. The playing continued after everyone came back to our house to eat and spend time together. The children’s exuberance was enough to get our angry drunk downstairs neighbor to come up and yell at me incoherently, as he’s done once or twice before. Following those tense moments the kids were more understanding of our requests for them not to run and jump on our main floor–not because we were scared, but because we wanted to be considerate. The rest of our afternoon was pleasant, and all too soon we said our goodbyes to cousins and grandparents.

Grandpa Tony and Grandma Renee had most of another day left. Jenny took them to one more city–Baltimore this time–where they had our favorite pizza for lunch. Then I joined them at a museum for one last activity before Elena and I dropped them off at the airport. With that our eventful weekend finally came to a close, but we’re sure to remember it for a long time.


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