Thursday, December 30, 2010

The baptism

I'll admit it; I'm superstitious. Technically the church no longer promotes the concept of Limbo, but the damage was done. Just the idea of my babies being stuck somewhere else for eternity is enough to make sure I get them baptized as soon as possible. My mom was baptized within a few days of her birth and I was only a week old. I had My Little Helper baptized when he was 3 weeks old, allowing for a bit of a recovery for me. It was also Grandparents' day which I thought would be cute.
My parish does baptisms every few months, all together, during Mass. This is supposed to remind the parishioners of their own baptismal promises and a community building moment. I get this, but for me, I prefer the intimacy of a private ceremony after Mass. All your family and friends can gather around, everyone can make a sign of the cross on the baby, people can stand wherever they want to take photos, there is no rushed feeling because you are causing a delay in everyone else's Mass experience. When my first was born, the communal baptisms were only happening quarterly and he was due the weekend of a baptism. That would have meant he would be 3 months old before he would have another opportunity. That was too much for me to handle so I had him baptized at the Cathedral where my mother is a parishioner. They offered private ceremonies and I loved the experience.
We have a new parish priest now and I began to accept that a baptism during the Mass would be just fine. It turned out that the closest baptism to Baby Boy's birth would be the day after Christmas. Yikes! I convinced myself that we could make it work though even though the baby would be at most one week old. I could heal from surgery by then, right?
My family has no heirloom gown for some reason, so when My Little Helper was born my mom made one. We picked out nice Irish linen and she did a lot of tat work for the hems. My great grandmother, who is the Catholic patriarch of the family, used to tat so my mom wanted to incorporate her into the gown. I intend to make this gown a new family heirloom. At some point I'll embroider names and dates inside the hem. I have a habit of wearing white to baptisms. It was easy enough at the first one because I had a summery maternity dress that I could wear. Eyelet won't work in December though so I spent more time than I should have waddling around looking for a winter white dress to wear. I finally found a white with gold brocade one that I loved. I ordered the largest size and had it shipped to me. Maybe the baby would arrive early? If I wore enough layers of Spanx it just might fit, right? I knew I was being extremely ambitious in the abilities of my post baby body to bounce back. I then began searching for a hat to wear with it. I discovered an amazing little hat shop CrowningLori which had just the hat I needed. I also had a back up outfit planned which included a hat already in my collection. But the night before the baptism neither dress fit. I'd have to be content with a purple maternity dress. And none of my hats would match it!Well, it all turned out alright in the end. Our godparents were available, even though it was a holiday weekend, and all my family was in town too. Did I get all the photos I would have liked? No. Did I feel rushed? Yes. But my son is baptized and he was so good during the ceremony; he didn't make a peep when the holy water was poured over his head. (The preschooler, whose parents had said during our sacramental preparation class that they had waited to baptize their daughter because they thought it would be easier, screamed bloody murder and refused to let Father pour water on her. I can't understand why anyone would want to wait. Babies don't know what is going on; it doesn't occur to them to protest.)
Because this is a second baby and we had no need for a baby shower, we decided to have a post baptism, meet the baby, Christmas open house party afterward. We didn't have our annual trip to Peacock Lane, but I essentially did the same set up. We ordered a cold cut & cheese tray and a fruit platter which we picked up on our way home from Mass. I baked a cake and made a red, Christmas-y punch, and coffee and tea. Very simple. I knew I would have neither the time nor the energy to get to ambitious with this.I used as inspiration the baptism of my twin godsons. Back then I offered to make a cake for them because I had discovered these cute priest, and baptismal font decorations at The Decorette shop. I made twin little cakes, frosted in white and they looked so sweet. Unfortunately the funeral for their grandfather was the day before, but as a result the house was filled with flowers, including a bouquet of white, long stem roses. It was such a beautiful centerpiece for the party.I had sent Mr. W to the store to buy all the supplies for cake making and asked him to pick up a white bouquet that hopefully had white roses and babies breath in it. He is so good to me that he made the florist add those things in to the one he found. Yes, I am crazy and made a cake on Christmas day between opening presents, going to my mothers for dinner just 6 days postpartum! It is a pretty easy recipe though and it turned out very sweet, I think. Could I have done a better job ironing the tablecloth? Yes, but I hoped that my family and friends would overlook that detail. The punch was cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, and 7 up. It was my first attempt at making an ice ring. I froze cranberries and sliced clementines in the bundt pan. It didn't turn out quite as I had hoped, but it is the thought that counts.
We had a nice turn out of guests who came and went during our open house. I think we planned it just right and now we can relax. We have nothing else to worry about or get ready for; we can just enjoy our new son.

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