Monday, October 3, 2011

Ben's baptism

Ben's baptism was held at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church on Sunday, October 2 in Durham. It was such a special day for everyone! Amanda and Paul got a really neat outfit for Ben to wear during the ceremony - part baptism gown, part romper - and I thought he looked adorable.

Here is a nice shot of father and son before we left for the church.

During the ceremony, the children of the church were invited to come forward to make the sign of the cross on Ben's forehead and welcome him to the church. I have never seen this done before and I thought it was a really nice sentiment, but their church really does need to start providing a chair for the person holding the baby being baptized!! Poor Paul got so tired holding Ben at an angle that was low enough for all of those children! Amanda had originally wanted me to hold Ben during the beginning of the ceremony, but I passed this job over to Paul for fear that my noodle arms would not be strong enough to manage 21-pound Ben for a long period of time. I definitely made the right decision! You can see Amanda, Erik (the godfather), and me laughing as the line of children kept getting longer and longer. (I swear they started bringing random children in from the street to meet Ben, because it didn't seem like there were that many children in attendance when the receiving line for Ben was initiated.) I never would have had the arm strength to make it through the entire line of kids!

Instead, I got the job of holding Ben during the actual baptizing part. When we were getting set up for this part of the ceremony, I thought I could just hold Ben close to my body (easier on the arms) with his head facing into the water.

However, the priest motioned for me to bring Ben over the center of the baptismal font, and when I began to move him, my arms began to droop. I was very relieved that I chose to wear a short-sleeved dress for the ceremony, because if I hadn't, it would have been very obvious to all of the bystanders that I skimmed the surface of the water with Ben while moving him to the center of the baptismal font (dampening his backside and soaking my arm). Ben's near-drowning was only temporary though, and I soon got Ben stabilized where he wasn't partially lying in the water. (But now all readers of this blog are thinking twice before granting me repeat godmother duties...)

My favorite part of the modern Catholic baptism is the end of the baptism, or what I like to call "the Simba moment." This is where the newly baptized baby is held up by the priest for the entire congregation to see (just like the beginning sequence of Disney's The Lion King). Ben nearly missed his - he was being fussy after being doused with water, and so Amanda made a break for the church lobby to calm him down instead of joining our candle-lit procession to the front of the church for the Simba moment! It was one of those spontaneous mishaps that we will all remember and laugh about in the years to come. The priest clearly thought we were total amateurs, but it was not our fault we were unprepared. The Catholic Church has rehearsals for many of the other sacraments (First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage), and baptisms should be no exception. How is anyone supposed to keep everything straight on the fly with a squirming, wet (because they were partially drowned by their godmother) baby on their hands?

Godfather Erik, Godmother Sarah, Paul, Amanda, and little baptized Ben.

I am thrilled and honored that Amanda and Paul asked me to be Ben's godmother! I am looking forward to all of the memories we will continue to share together.

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