A Daphne Sort of Week

Driving home from the Temple last Thursday morning, Bill said, "Daphne has been the catalyst for a spiritual awakening in our home."

She really has been.

It was very obvious this past weekend when she was blessed in our little ward in our little town. Really, the event began the previous Wednesday when our bishop asked to meet with us. Bill and I put on our Sunday best and met him in his office. He sat behind his desk, his pant leg snagged on the top of his cowboy boot, and invited us to give this event the significance it deserved. He spoke of the blessing of his first baby - and what his bishop had asked him: "are you ready?"

"Yes, Bishop, I think so," he had said. He recalled the words of the beginning of the blessing that called the power of the priesthood to his aid - and then the blessing.
"But are you ready?" his bishop had asked.
"Obviously I don't know what you mean, Bishop. Help me out."
His bishop looked him in the eye and asked, "are you worthy?"
He said, "I'm not perfect, Bishop, but yes. I'm worthy."
His bishop then asked, "why?"

Hearing him tell this story, I asked myself the same question. "why?"
Because. I heard my heart say. Because it's true.

The fight is real, and these valiant spirits that come to us in these tiny packages will wage a war that we must prepare them for. Heavenly Father knows the tools they will need to fight their individual battles in the universal War. And so: we give them a blessing.

We call upon the aid and the wisdom of heaven to bless these children with the strengths that they will need to prevail in this turbulent, frightening world.

And we must be worthy.

After meeting with the bishop, I drove home (leaving Bill at the church with his Young Men who were there playing basketball for their mutual activity) and I took my little Daphne in my arms and I looked into those innocent and guileless blue eyes and I tried to see.

"Little hummingbird," I whispered. "Who are you going to be?"

And the thought of her having to face the evils of this world broke my heart. I wanted her blessing on Sunday to be a mile long, offering her all the protections a parent could think of - fortifying her against any ill thing this earth could present to her.

When Bill came home that evening, we counseled together.  The bishop had asked us to think about what we wanted to bless our baby with. I was concerned, because that was a big job. What could we come up with that would be at all adequate? "This is a blessing from Heavenly Father," Bill reminded me. "Not from us. He knows what she needs far better than we could." And so we abandoned 'the list' approach and held fast to what we believed was at the core of the bishop's advice: be worthy.

We fasted, we went to the temple, we held the hope of the promises of her blessing in our hearts.

And oh, our prayers were answered.

On that Sunday afternoon, Bill stood worthy and prepared in that circle and called down the powers of heaven to bless our Daphne with the things that her Heavenly Father had in store for her. It was beautiful, and my heart soared with the truth of it.

She was told that she would be a catalyst for change in those around her.

And oh, she has been. She has already been exactly that in our little family.

Wyatt, Bill, Daphne, me, and Lizzie at home after the blessing.

Daphne's dress is a wonder. My mother made it for me to be blessed in when I was Daphne's size. Mom and Dad were both students and couldn't afford to buy a blessing dress - and so she made this beauty.

I was terrified of ruining it (it is, after all, thirty years old!) by cleaning it, and so I deliberately waited until Aunt Grammie was in town. She has a way with fabrics, and they yield to her bidding. I was wise to do so - Aunt Grammie cleaned, ironed, and mended (a small rip under the arm) the dress to perfection.

So Daphne was blessed in the dress that I was blessed in, that her grandmother made, and that her Aunt Grammie tended.


This is Aunt Grammie:
Don't you love her already? Aunt Grammie (Aunt Shirley to Bill, Lizzie and I) is a sassy and feminine type of soul. A kindred spirit. A cribbage playing red-hatter. She stepped in when Bills' mom died when he was twelve and helped his dad with the house and the kids, easing the burden and helping to patch the hole that the loss of Martha left in their lives. Shirley was the arms that wrapped around the ache in my twelve-year-old husband's heart. For this, I will always be grateful to her.

She stepped in again when Bill's dad died. This is what amazes me: she abandoned her life for a time to come and take care of the things that none of us knew how to even begin to do, giving the McCrery children the emotional space to cope with the loss of their father (and life as they knew it) and begin healing. But she had lost her little brother. She was grieving herself, yet she never faultered. Never stopped doing. Giving. Providing.

That is the kind of family I married in to.

And she dotes on my children and makes them the most beautiful quilts.

She and Uncle Gary (aka Grandpa Oompa) are honorary grandparents in our home. I wish I could tell them adequately what this means to me (let alone the kids!). I always wanted to be a daughter-in-law - it may sound weird, but I always thought I'd be pretty good at it. Now I have to wait until the Other Side to find out! But Gary and Shirley have provided my children with a McCrery set of grandparents. And they have provided the McCrery siblings (a group I include myself in, thank you) with a place and people to gravitate to. Brian, Bill, Clinton and Lizzie were set adrift when they lost their second parent and, later, the home of their upbringing. Gary and Shirley are the anchor that keeps them grounded.

And then there's the Clarkston Reunion - wich is an entirely different post.

This is Oompa (Uncle Gary):

Everything that was said of Aunt Shirley with regard to the help that she was to our family during times of grief can be said for Uncle Gary. This is just one more way that Gary is yin to Shirley's yang. They sweep into a room, see what needs to be done, and do it. Without having to speak to each other. They've reached that telepathic level of comfort with each other. Watching how they work with and around each other is like watching a dance that you start wiggling your own feet to without noticing.

I could sit for hours and listen to Oompa talk - stories of his childhood, stories from teaching university or conducting orchestras, playing in jazz and rock bands, stories about falling in love with Aunt Shirley or growing up on a farm, his thoughts on life - while he makes snickerdoodles in my kitchen.

That man has the touch. The things he bakes deserve sainthood.

He has the best laugh: deep, honest, and loud. The way laughs were meant to be.
(and don't you think he'd make a WONDERFUL Santa Claus?)

These are the flowers that they brought for Daphne on her special day (her first flowers!):
Ooh, they smell so sweet. I think the arrangement is downright charming.
Please note the vase of decorative good'n'plenty.

Bill said, "Isn't it funny that they're called good'n'plenty when they arent and aren't?"
That is funny.

Here we all are in the kitchen the night before Daphne's big day - cutting up fruit and what-have-you.

I was obviously not feeling photogenic.

Thanks, Grammie, for taking Daphne's pacifier out of her mouth for the picture. (Grandma's know about stuff like that.)

And thanks, Daphne, for bringing us all together.

My little Catalyst.


Lizzie said...


Diana Larson said...

I love the "Aunt Grammie" term. That is sooo perfect a name for her. You were VERY wise to leave the fabric issue to her. The gown is beautiful just as your family is. Keep blogging. Our love to you ALL!

The Hunt Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Hunt Family said...

What a great story. Bailey was blessed in the dress I was blessed in. Sure does make it that much sweeter. Now I am taking part of the blessing dress and sewing it into her baptism dress. Then when she gets married I will take the blessing dress, Baptism dress and part of my wedding dress into her own dress. Ok so don't know why I told you all that, but felt like sharing..haha. Congrats to you and your cute adorable family.

Grandpa Rusty said...

IT was easy to tell, standing in the circle with the other priesthood holders at Daphne's blessing, that Bill was in tune with the spirit and simply expressing in words the blessings that Heavenly Father wanted bestowed on his and your precious daughter. Thank you for the privilege of taking part.

Tammy said...

It was a beautiful blessing and a beautiful day. Thank you for allowing us to participate in it. You have a very wise bishop.