Somehow I managed to schedule the baptism 2 days after my husband’s birthday and didn’t even think about that… I’m not quite sure how this happened. Well, OK, maybe I know… My first concern in thinking about the baptism was that the baby had to fit into the gown! The gown is very important – I wore it. My brother wore it. My Mom wore it. Most of my cousins and many of their children wore it. I mean – it was probably purchased at Woolworth’s or something – but it was purchased there 60 years ago and has been worn by nearly everyone since then!
‘Nearly’ because some of my cousins kids were too big to wear it! And so I was worried that we needed to get this done early!
We’d looked at 3 weeks after she was born. It seemed like quite a rush to be ready by them, but maybe… This was sort of an odd one though – that Sunday was actually the anniversary of the day my Dad died. I usually try to spend some time with friends and eat his favorite meal that day, but generally consider it a low key day and not one when we’d have a party. But then again – my husband’s thought was maybe we could “reclaim” the day as something positive. My thought was maybe there was something poignant about welcoming our baby to God’s family on the day my day was ‘welcomed home’ to God. (Yes, I KNOW I sound like one of those religious nut jobs now. I’m fully aware of it and accept it. If I heard anyone else say that, I’d probably question their sanity. But I was feeling hormonal and sentimental and that’s just the way I felt about it!) It turned out the party room in our condo wasn’t available that day, though, so it didn’t matter. (Someone had finally rationalized to me that there was no way we could fit the 30-40 people who might show up based on our wide invite list in our 1200 square foot condo.) We looked at the weekend after that, but my husband was working. So that left us at 5 and a half weeks (a much more reasonable / rational time than I think three and half weeks had been anyway!) and my addled brain not realizing that it was my husband’s birthday.
It also left me with a few weeks to obsess about planning this. I wrote the guest list and food list a thousand times. I planned decorations and replanned food. I tried to orchestrate all aspects like a play – who would be where / when to get all the food ready on time and make everything run smoothly without having to cater or hire help (as we were working in a budget).
The day finally arrived and mercifully our angel slept 6 hours in a row before waking up to eat and sleeping for 3 more! It was wonderful! Sure my hair hadn’t been cut in a couple months and I hadn’t quite lost all the baby weight, so there was the general clothes crisis of the morning, but I’d actually gotten a pretty reasonable amount of sleep! AND – as I was in charge of getting the baby ready – feeding her, bath, etc. – I did not have to run over to help set up. My morning seemed blissfully easy compared to what I’d expected (as reality had hit me while we set up tables and chairs and moved all the food over to the party room the night before. Oh, what had I been thinking?).
We got to church and got the forms from our selected godparents (my husband’s sister and one of my cousins) and waited for the priest to arrive. We were very lucky that he’d made a special exception to do this on Saturday rather than after mass on Sunday, as is normally done, so all our out of town guests could come and we could have a special ceremony that was all our own. Of course we’d forgotten things! It goes without saying. We forgot our thank you note and gift for the priest (crap – call Mom. She’s still at our place). I forgot to put the shoes and hat on the baby that my mother in law had picked out (argh). I probably forgot half the prayers and my own name… But we were ready at “go” time. And so was the baby. She farted loudly (and productively) about halfway through. We hid our chuckles while the priest pretended not to notice. Then he got to the part about putting on the unsoiled white garment of baptism (fart #2). And the trifecta was completed a moment later. Even the priest couldn’t help but chuckle. He finished the ceremony and my husband held her up for the crowd of our friends and family like the scene from The Lion King.
Yes, the dress fit beautifully. And yes I changed her out of it very shortly after so it will fit beautiful (and remain the unstained white garment!) for the next baby in my extended family. Yes, the food was good and plentiful – though we still felt the need to worry over getting everything done and out for all. Yes, lots of friends and family came impressing us with their generosity of time and gifts! It was really a wonderful day.