Lord knows that I’m not a model Catholic. I rarely make 10am mass on Sunday even thought it’s the only one out of seven held every Sunday that’s in English. (My Spanish, Vietnamese, and Haitian aren’t what I would call current.) I can’t tell you (sadly) the last time I was at confession, which is of course one of the reasons I don’t go to confession. And I seem to always forget about even the biggest of church holidays. (Ash Wednesday was when?) But for my inability to be totally committed or consistent, getting baby baptized was a must.
The way my husband and I look at it, baby actually had two baptisms. One was held on a Saturday in the presence of… well, actually nobody but my husband and me. It was simple, sweet, and a little southern in that it was nothing more than a first dunk in the mighty St. Lawrence River off my parents’ dock. It’s the fastest way to get christened as a River Rat.
The second baptism was more traditional, although I imagine that certain parts of the Catholic Church would be less than impressed with our ceremony. There was a priest, but other than that it in no way resembled any other christening I’d been to. There was no church; the scene was my parent’s house with the River as the backdrop. The guest list had only marginally more people than at baby’s first, unofficial baptism. Parents, siblings, and godparents.
Choosing baby’s godparents was an interesting exercise. My husband and I decided that we would each pick one godparent. Neither one of us could veto the other’s choice, and the only other caveat was that whoever we picked couldn’t be family.
That might sound a little strange. But here’s how we thought about it: Family automatically plays a big role in a baby’s life–good, bad, or indifferent. A baby’s godparents are an opportunity to invite someone outside the clan to help raise baby. And when I say raise, I don’t mean as a go-to babysitter.
Godparents are people who can uniquely enrich baby’s life. They are removed from the family headaches, drama, and other nonsense, so they can model different–and sometimes better–behavior. Not only that, but chances are they have discrete talents, perspectives, and priorities than baby’s parents and family. And in our minds, that’s a good thing. More exposure to diversity of thought and action equals a more well-rounded person. At least in theory.
Fortunately we are blessed with many close friends who would make spectacular godparents. So, we started considering another factor–geography. There’s no doubt that godparents are more influential when they can actually see the baby from time to time. Being military, there are few guarantees that D.C. will be our last stop. But there’s one place, we always–and will always–go back to: the River. We’ve got the most family concentrated in the area and the River itself is tangled up in our whole relationship. So, we needed to find baby godparents who, if all else failed, would be close(ish) to the River so we could all see each other.
And so long story short, baby has a wonderful set of godparents (to include their respective spouses who are just as amazing as they are) who more than fit the bill.
But the whole exercise really made me realize how lucky we are to have such a fantastic circle of friends, all of whom would–and will–have amazing things to add to baby’s life. The whole decision process left me wanting to have a whole slew of kids so they could each experience the richness of all of our closest friends. How many ways can I count my blessings?