Pop Quiz: What are the two things one should never talk about?
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Well, I am going to talk about one of them today. Not from a soapbox, but from my own experience. And I hope no one is offended.
This past weekend, we had the twins’ baptism. My family is Catholic, and my husband is Coptic, which is basically Eastern Orthodox Christian.
My husband and I are not very religious in the I-need-to-get-myself-up-at-8-on-a-Sunday-to-prove-my-faith sense. We’re both admittedly motivated by guilt and repeated questioning and/or requests from our families.
When we got married, we had a civil ceremony, and six months later had the marriage convalidated, which basically means we’re now married in the eyes of the church as well. Thus, we have two anniversaries. Cha-ching! In our defense, though, we both did want to do that.
I do not personally agree with some of the Catholic church’s views, and my husband, he, well, has a bit of an anti-establishment bent to him, you know, when he’s not trying to please his parents, so, between the two of us, we don’t exactly scream devout.
Nonetheless, we’ve ceremoniously made all of our sacraments and completed the requirements necessary to be part of the church. Except actually going to church.
The past few church experiences we’ve had have been, uh, noteworthy. The night of our convalidation, an old woman hit my car in the church parking lot on the way in, causing my entire family to be late, walk in the wrong door after the mass started, and trample across the pulpit to our seats while the priest was talking. That went over famously.
After we had our son, we ‘switched’ churches to one much closer to our house. My son’s baptism went quite well, no issues there, but with my twins’ pregnancy right up on its heels, we didn’t really give much further thought to church, and didn’t step foot into one again until yesterday.
We were one, ONE, (literally ONE) minute late to the ceremony, and the priest was outside, tapping his foot, calling us on his cell phone. I know this because I was there, in the parking lot, taking my 3 children out of their carriers, watching him call us. The message on my home voicemail from the priest was received at 1:01pm. Really.
Again, my family tramples in, like a herd of elephants, to another waiting family, none-too-pleased that we were one minute late for the baptism. I don’t want to be self-righteous here, but I have three babies to get ready, and no matter what time we get up and start, we’re still dictated by sloppy high-chair meals, naps, and bad moods. So, though I was sorry, part of me wasn’t.
To make matters worse, my sponsors (the babies’ godparents) had gotten lost, and were late. The priest, nine minutes later, informed us that he was going to begin, with the other family, and would hopefully continue with us if our sponsors arrived. I spoke out of turn and explained to him that they were most likely lost, and would arrive soon. Five more points for Stephie!
Now, mind you, for my son’s baptism, we waited, not unhappily, a good thirty minutes, for another family’s sponsors to arrive. No one complained, and there was no foot- or watch-tapping. We just waited. Patiently.
A few moments later, the tardy folk, again, herding elephant-style, charged in and took their seats.
We fumbled clumsily through the ceremony. I had mixed emotions throughout, which, unfortunately, were aggravation mixed with resentment. I know. Not what I should have been feeling for my babies’ baptism, but I was aggravated at the whole time issue, being rushed, and not being able to actually settle in and take in the event. I also felt guilty that I wasn’t really into it, that I knew our babies were fine, baptized or not, and that no one could really understand (or appreciate) the epic struggle it is to get us all out of the house, much less bathed and in coordinated clothing.
When we drove from the church to the reception venue, my husband and I had a pretty serious discussion about what we wanted to do going forward, religion-wise. I pointed out that we’d probably be the family whose kid was late to CCD class every week, would enter through the wrong door for their First Communion, would be wearing the wrong shoes, and would line up in the wrong spot, and he pointed out that he once fell asleep holding a candle when he was an altar boy and burnt his ear with hot wax.
I had to bribe my husband into wearing a coat and tie to the church. His argument was that God didn’t put Adam in a suit when he created him, and that we were all lucky he wasn’t going naked.
Clearly, we’re not cut out for this racket.
I don’t necessarily want to go along with all the pomp and circumstance associated with being Catholic. My liberal view isn’t really compatible, and my husband, well, doesn’t like coats or ties. I think it’s easy to see that between our shenanigans and lack of commitment, the Catholic church isn’t really a great fit. Not now, at least.
But we’re not without faith.
We’ll probably be pondering life’s great mysteries for a while. In the meantime, please enjoy some super cute baptism pictures.
Love the sunlight on him!
With her (Fairy) Godmother
Ready to rock and roll!