Found this and realized I had never posted it! 2017:
Ty has had a trach his whole life (minus 3 months when we tried taking it out when he was 3.) So when he turned 8 and all his primary church class friends were talking about getting baptized we just told Ty he could do it “later.” We didn’t know how he could even do it- he had never been submerged before.
In our church we wait until children are 8 to give them the opportunity to be baptized because it’s a covenant between them and Heavenly Father and it makes sense that they should have an understanding of promises they are making, mainly taking on the name of Christ. Which is also the reason children 8 and older (like Ben) who have less than an 8 year old mentality don’t need to be baptized. But if they have a desire, they get to have a special interview to be sure they understand the difference between right and wrong and the bishop can help determine if its appropriate for them.
My mind didn’t linger long at the time on that decision to wait. It just didn’t feel like the right moment to worry about it. But as Ty got closer to nine Jonathan and I started to talk about it more, and we started to ask what his options were. Like, what do you DO when you cant be submerged under water? After various conversations and questions we learned that it could be done by proxy, meaning someone could do it in his name. And for awhile we thought that might be the route we would take. At this point I still felt light headed at the thought of making this happen because there just isn’t a good way to waterproof a trach. Add the fact that Ty HATED doing anything with his trach including changing it (which we have to do regularly) which made ME nervous. He would hold my hand tight and just clench up, so we didn’t do it that often. Jonathan had a great approach to this. He started changing Ty’s trach more often and even having him take a few breaths before putting it back in. (Ack! I never did this.) Ty got SO good at it, he caught on quickly to a way of calming himself down, taking slow deep breaths and trying to relax while we take the trach out and put in a new one.
During this process we were of course talking with Ty. When we first mentioned it to him he said yes he did want to be baptized. But then any time we would mention it he would (in his very loud boisterous Ty way) say “I am NOT doing that!!” So after a few months of this back and forth I finally sat him down and said “Ty, you do not have to get baptized. We would never make you. So you have to decide if you want to.”
I had heard him talking to my sister earlier that week on the phone and when she asked him about getting baptized he said “So, my WHOLE life has been all about my trach, and NOT going in water and now they want me to go under the water!!” Well duh of course he would feel that way. So we had a family home evening about baptism that week and during it we had a really sweet moment. I asked Ty if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes….. and then when I asked if it was just really scary to think about going under water he responded “YES!!” I’m sitting here trying to describe his voice, it was so loud, kind of worried and almost like he was saying FINALLY, someone gets it. So he and I decided not to say any negative things about getting baptized, but instead just say he was “nervous about it” and from then on he did.
In August while Jonathan was away on a scout hike I just felt like it was time to set a date so we did! It just felt right, even as my anxiety ran full steam it couldn’t curtail my feelings that it was right, especially since we were able to plan it so he would be baptized with his very best friend Ethan.
We had an appointment with his ENT and when I told him what we were thinking about- the baptism- he was totally on board. I was so grateful, he said these kinds of things are important (and of course I couldn’t have agreed more.) I told him that Jonathan had suggested we just take the trach out, seal his neck with a bandages and then perform the baptism. Knowing Ty and his history Dr Senders felt comfortable with it and he gave us large wound bandages to seal his neck with. Yikes. This was happening!
I admit I kind of went on auto pilot. I found my self not being able to really think too much about it and in a way I think this as how I needed to handle it. I knew it was going to be fine but the way anxiety works is not always rational 🙂 I could feel myself start to hyperventilate if I thought too much about it. I just needed to remember the good feelings I had about it.
When my older kids were baptized we did lots of fun things to celebrate, for example making chocolate waffles for everyone after Scott’s baptism. I wrote a song and my friend wrote the piano music out so I could sing it. A lot of thought and preparation for the actual event went into it like a “photo session” with dad and then really cute invitations my talented friend made. and we printed up nice programs for the actual day. But when it came time for Ty’s baptism prep I really couldn’t even wrap my brain around any of that. I just had no desire, and my friends who had children getting baptized were not worried about any of that either, which made it so much easier.
On the actual day we had no flowers, no programs, no pictures or even a table cloth for the rice crispy treats and brownies. But it didn’t even matter. Not one bit.
Ty had been floating around all day like he was on cloud nine, he couldn’t stop hugging people and didn’t even seem one bit nervous. We had asked him if he wanted to do a practice dip in water but he said “Nope! One time is enough.” So they did a practice in the family room where they took out the trach and placed the bandage etc. Ty did so great- I kept reminding him to breath through his mouth, (it takes practice!) and he used hand signs and didn’t talk when his trach was out because he was too busy focusing on breathing.
The actual baptism just took a few minutes and it was perfect. Just perfect. We had our friends and family there and Charlotte (Ethan’s mom/my sweet friend) and I sang a simple primary song for the musical number. As I’m sitting here trying to remember the details, I really just remember feeling somehow enveloped, there is a reason the Holy Ghost is often called “The Comforter.” Here we were doing something that could have been really scary with Ty but we felt so at peace about it. It was just the basics… the font, the priesthood, the ordinance of baptism and it continues to be one of my favorite moments of Ty’s life. After Jonathan baptized Ty with his bandaged neck and they walked up out of the water I found myself holding my breath until I heard Ty cough, meaning his trach was safely back in.
I couldn’t have felt more proud of my brave guy! He had overcome his fear! A few months ago he was asked to give a talk in primary and he chose to do it on baptism. Here is what he wrote:
“Today I am going to talk about baptism. The reason I am going to talk about it is because I was baptized. When my mom and dad talked about it I was scared for about a year. The reason I was scared was because I had never been under water before so I was nervous. But when my mom and dad told me that I could get baptized when Ethan was going to be baptized I said – can I think about it for a couple days? I thought about it after school, during school, after dinner,before dinner, after everything I did, even before bed. But one night when I was sleeping I couldn’t sleep so I went to go get a drink of water, after I went to get a drink of water I knew I had to get baptized so that way I could be with my family forever and ever. So I told my parents I wanted to get baptized with Ethan and my parents told me that Dean was also going to be baptized so I said ok good.
On the day I got baptized I was a little nervous but then when my mom and dad told me my Grandma and Grandpa and one of my aunts was going to be there I was kind of glad they were there because I dont see them very often and I knew it was another part of Heavenly Fathers plan. I think the Holy Ghost gave the good feeling I had when I got baptized.
The reason I’m talking about baptism is because baptism is an important part of life it can help you stay with your family forever and ever. Amen.”