Maybe this doesn’t deserve it’s own post. But we all have to start someplace…
For the past months or so I have been diliberating on a vision board to start my own blog; something I have wanted to do for years. I had worried how it would be executed, coming from a girl bursting with ideas who can hardly articulate common sense on a good day.
Feel free to shut me down. I’m always up for learning more language rules. However I will forever hold you a pilkunnussija. And with that title comes no crown, just a cologne with the bitter scent of desperation to prove to the world you are superior whilst you leave some of us with arbitrary grammatical anxiety. Really, is that all you have in life?
Wife, Mumma, Not-so-evil Step Mum, Personal stylist, Early Childhood Practioneer, IVF warrior, Entrepreneur, Artisan, Retro lover, Moon Child, Fairy, Mermaid, Bourgeois Bohemian, Dreamer.
Blessed with four Gentlemen. Hussy (aka husband), my stepson Tadhg (twelve), Dante (four) and little baby, Iggy (seven months). Like anyone with boys, I’m asked almost daily, ‘Are we going back to try for a girl?’ These people either have no idea of the road we’ve travelled or don’t know me from a bar of soap. Quite content being both the Queen and Princess.
Going for a Dip
Gasp! Planning a baptism when your not religious is like learning to speak a foreign language. They might as well have left it all in latin because I’m all at sea here. So apparently there are some simple rules- and there are a whole bunch of protocols that if you miss the memo, are terribly frowned upon. Which is fine if you don’t care. But I do. I’m not trying to be disrespectful. It means a great deal to my mother in law, who I just adore, and my husbands family too. I’m trying to be respectful.
Sometimes you can’t google your way out of what life throws at you. In hindsight, maybe some things are just common sense, but you be the judge. Let’s start with the basics…
- At least one of the godparents must represent the home team (Catholic) and be baptised. The rest need to promise, should you die an early death, to raise your child as the gorgeous little catholic that you initially intend
- you need a candle and that white heirloom baptism gown that has been passed through your family for generations and saved for these exact moments. You have one, right? Just joking. You can wear white or have a some kind of white cloth to cover your child. Although others will reserve the right to quietly judge you and your family for doing so.
- have a name that you have specifically chosen because of the significance of that canonised saint and not because it was your second choice name and you still wanna get it in there somewhere
- Godparents must be hetrosexual
Well, maybe that’s more of a ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ scenario. In fact, I could be imagining it and the bit that is actually frowned upon is when the homosexual godfather takes one look at the church and says, ‘Screw this for a joke. I’m going to the cafe down the road. Text me when they serve the wine.’ Let’s just change it to: You must sit through the service. I think he was afraid of being struck by lightning should he enter. Lastly,
- you probably should be a member of our church.
Listen to me, as if I darken the door religiously every Sunday, ‘the church’. Not ours.
So, now that we know the basics. Hopefully you understand why I’m over here in pew two feeling like it’s one of those anxiety dreams when you’re in your undies and everyone is looking for you ’cause we’re basically breaking nearly every protocol in the book. Meanwhile, is that enough? I still feel like a fraud. I had nightmares when Dante was baptised that I would be zapped before entering the church, (I know, dramatic). I think it must be a family thing; fear of get smited (or is it smote)?
Actually the preparation didn’t go so badly. We may be sinners, but at least we look the part. Baptism candle-tick, family heirloom gown- tick! Very suspiciously; it comes from my side of the family. A group of staunch ba-humbug atheists. Right- so someone, at some point, was baptised. Well, this is starting to look as authentic as it gets.
It’s a week away, I yell out to my husband, ‘Are you sure you’ve sorted everything?’
‘What’s this you say?’ he answers vaguely.
‘Have you paid the church?’ I ask.
‘Oh yeah, I think your meant to pay something?’
‘I understand that. Honey, have you sorted it?’
‘I think you just do it on the day.’
‘Nope, you really don’t, honey’. Face palm. Do I even ask if the paperwork had been returned? Double face palm. ‘You’re a born and raised Catholic! I thought you were supposed to know about all this.’
‘It’s a baptism. I think I was a week old when I got done. How am I supposed to remember?’
Baptism day rolls around after a week of me tying up all the lose ends I gave to Hussy to complete like sorting out the church business. Then, continuing my job of finding the boys tripleting outfits (that’s one up on twinning). I’m exhausted. I have to confess, I’m also excited. Not just because my baby will be absolved from sin and go to heaven, but selfishly, it’s also another occasion to dress up! I can wear another dress hanging in my wardrobe: still brand new with tags. Which one says, ‘gorgeous, yet pious’? This way I can buy another two back up dresses, ’cause you know Camilla had a good sale on Vogue shopping night. Don’t judge; Melbourne weather is never predictable, so you need to have options, people.
So now I look the part but I’m not sure I belong here. Now you’ve realised I am most certainly the rambling rose. A rambling rose is also an elusive Spell Designs rare unicorn. But we’ll talk unicorns and my dress problem at a later point. I’ll get back to the church in a minute. First I need to find a venue afterwards.
So a week before the baptism, I’m on a rant, fully charged by the powers of the moon. Where exactly are we gathering afterwards? I’m at the point of no return with functions held at the family home. The clean up, the cook up, the clean up. Nope, done. After a 30th Birthday, engagement party, baby shower, one baptism, a 40th birthday and the Christmas days in-between (not to mention the children themed birthday parties). I’m out. It’s not because I hate it, it’s because I love it too much. If you’ve ever meet me you’ll know I don’t anything casual or low key. Everything, I repeat, every event I’ve ever held is over the top. My husband jokes how my ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed 30th birthday cost more than our wedding, and we got married interstate. But I guess when you’ve become acclimatised to paying 13k upfront for an IVF cycle you lose touch with the real world when in fact a normal person would realise money doesn’t grow on trees. Not me.
Bingo: we found a bistro in Mt. Martha; beach views from the deck, children’s playground area and pizzas to share. We sample the pizzas. They are on par with the authentic Italian pizza restaurant in Mornington dripping in Salerno sourced buffalo mozzarella. Could it possibly be this cheap and easy? What have I been doing wrong all this time? We enjoy a beer in the sunshine and picture a perfect sunny baptism day!
So, back to the church. See, I promised we’d get back on track. That morning I got the usual ten replies; ‘I’m not coming,’ ‘I think I have gangrene,’ ‘My aunt’s apple tree fell over.’ My ‘other’ brother is in his usual contrary mood, ‘I’m not coming because you’re a bunch of friggin’ hypocrites.’ I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that he didn’t get a guernsey as godfather. That’s cool people, it’s not a big deal. I was being polite. I’m not trying to convert you or anything.
Everyone arrives late to church and none of us are seated together. I wave mysteriously in all directions of the church during the service to welcome and thank those who have attended. I keep catching the eye of random parishioners who smile back and whisper ‘Peace be with you,’ politely. How did we mess this up? It’s not like we haven’t been here and done this before. I do my best to not draw attention to myself by kneeling (sorry, genuflecting.) That must be when you do it with solemn adoration (at least that’s what google told me). I say ‘amen’ when anyone in the pulpit stops talking. Then I mumble my way through the ‘We believe in one hmmmm, the mmm of mmmm and hmmmm…’
Dante sees the fact that we are all spread out as an opportunity to play musical chairs during the service. He’s working the room, sliding across the polished pews to friends and family. People from the church stare, probably thinking, ‘Can you control that child?’. Then he gives them a gleaming Dante smile that nobody can resist. ‘Ahh, bless.’ In hindsight it was probably their busiest service of the year. Ha, I’m sure most people don’t invite their entire friend list. I didn’t know I had so many catholic friends. They all felt obliged to turn up. Ahh, bless. Anyhow we make it through the service.
Iggy handled the entire situation or baptism brilliantly. He’s a catholic pro. Four god parents, aren’t over the top, are they? Nope. Hedging our bets. Giving the kid options. Now, he is still all smiles as he is juggled between the caffeinated mother, his wild sibling and of course the strangers smothering him. Not to mention the random stranger in a gown splashing water in his face. Everyone says this child is like me, there’s not a piece of my soul that could have tolerated this in the spirit that Iggy did.
Dante on the other hand wasn’t so blessed. We need to get out of here before he tries to start a water fight at the holy water font. So we pile into the car and head to the venue close by the church.
Here we are now. Entertain us! (I feel stupid and contagious). We arrive at the bistro of course its overcast so we are moved inside- no bay views. Of course the venue get the booking wrong. We’ve already ordered but the waiter still feels the need to go over the menu five times even after I’ve explained we’ve already ordered. I pull a seat up and squeeze myself at he end of the girls table, Hussy places a beer in my hand (have I mentioned how amazing he is?) I basically don’t move after this point. Not even for photos but I’ll regret this later.
Dante manages to catch us out… he has a big glass of lemonade in his hand (fire engine red) and a look reserved for Lucifer himself. How did he get it?! We didn’t authorise that! Someone has brought a jug for the table of kids. Next minute, our hope turn to regret, he’s racing around the deck casually joining strangers at lunch, standing on chairs and finally slamming his body into the glass balcony. That moment of family bliss is over. We have a lemonade drunk. why can’t I get drunk from lemonade? That’s it Dante, we’re getting you done again. Obviously your first baptism didn’t work. Maybe we should have got Dante exorcised today. Two for one deal. I wonder if they still do those?
We say goodbye to all our guests and thank them for a lovely day. Dante is poured into the car. Lucky we have a carseat to restrain him. In two minutes, he has the stares on; he comes down from his sugar rush and is passed out and drooling.
Sigh. Baptism complete, we survived. So well, in fact, that I had a new lease on life after the event. I see a sign on the side of the freeway and decided a food truck festival was the perfect answer to dinner. This is who we are crazy, over the top, unorganised, eccentric, anything but perfect.
Iggy on the other hand is absoulte perfection. I really do hope we don’t screw him up. It’s too late for the other two.