Sunday, May 25, 2008

Blessed

We sat there, anxiously waiting for the ceremony to begin. Steadily for the next 15 minutes, our friends would trickle in: one here, three there, a couple here, five there. They just kept walking in and with each one, my heart filled larger and larger with great pride. One in particular sent me a text letting me know that she’d put aside her issues with organized religion and come to the ceremony because she knew how important the baptism was for me and as her friend, it was important for her to be there. ::tear:: That comment alone was so special and her presence was better than any bought gift. Everyone’s presence was, actually. I was so impressed and overwhelmed by this outpouring! We were truly blessed. We had more than 30 friends and family in attendance to witness Mari’s baptism. Before we went in to sit down, we stopped by and asked Father Jim to bless her things: her bible, rosary, candle, seashell, picture frame, and book.

She slept through most of the ceremony. It was a bit warm inside, much of that because of how hot it was on Saturday. We were all sweating and I kept pulling up Mari’s dress to fan her. Poor little thing was sweating so much, but she didn’t mind. She was zonked out to the world. When we went up to the altar, she began to stir. I held her over the baptismal font and her heavy eyes were fighting to go back to sleep. Father Jim took the seashell and poured the lukewarm water on her forehead. Her eyes startled awake and she gave a puzzled look followed by a small smile. I held tightly, Don’s left arm around my waist and his right hand on her. My sister had her hand on Don, followed by my brother who had his hand on my sister, and Danika who placed her hand on Brother. There we were all connecting, staring lovingly at our beautiful baby girl.

The priest held her up and introduced her to the congregation. Everyone clapped, welcoming her to our faith. The choir sang in the background, rejoicing. Afterwards, Father Jim placed the sign of the cross near her fontanel region with the chrism of salvation. It has a strong, sweet patchouli smell. The rest of us followed, doing the sign of the cross on her forehead. Afterwards, they lit her fancy baptism candle (from the Easter candle) and my sister, her godmother, received the “light of Christ.” It was all so very beautiful.

We were asked to take the gifts up to the altar. Don took the Eucharist, Brother carried the money, and my sister and Danika took the wine. Don didn’t see Sam and accidentally bumped into her right before we were going to go up to the altar. The wine began to spill and some got on her dress. Thankfully, it was red, so that’s good. We had a nice chuckle and headed to the altar.

After the ceremony, we were encouraged to process out before the priest. (This is one of the very few times where that is acceptable.) All of the parents lined up with their children and we were in a greeting line to receive everyone’s congratulations and blessings. It reminded me a lot of when I had my Quince and there were all of these strangers coming up to talk to me. It made me feel good to receive all of the praises.

The after party at the house was fantastic. We had a catering mix-up since I gave the wrong date, but Dickey’s came through in a pinch. Even though it wasn’t as good as Jeff’s BBQ, it worked. We all had plenty to eat. I was, however, disappointed with the cake. It was so dry. For the amount that I paid for it, I expected a lot better. Seriously, I should’ve just bought Sprinkles cupcakes for everyone. I’m thinking about writing them a letter, but in a diplomatic way. What do you think?

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