I was raised Catholic (and well educated by their Marianist and Jesuit relams – high school and college). I was baptized at St. Bernardine of Sienna parish in Southern California. I received my first communion there, too, and I would have gotten confirmed there if it weren’t for a small argument about a retreat during my sophomore year. (I said I can’t go. They said fine, no confirmation. I said phooey on youy, I’ll do it elsewhere.) I was confirmed and married at Mission Santa Clara.
So when we (I) scheduled the muppets baptism, Jon had one question. “They’re not going to drown them, right?”
Initially, we’d held off on the baptism because I was relatively certain there were germs out to get my susceptible preemie sons and me. I figured God would understand the delay; God made single-cell bacterial organisms and loves all his creations right? I do not, No sir, nothankyou.
Then I thought it would be a fantastic idea to have the boys baptized at St. Bernardine – just like me! Besides, Southern California is where the Catholic contingent of my family lives. Why, yes. I am a genius. But then I remembered that Jon works weekends and I’d have to load up half my house and tote two toddlers (who unsurprisingly lack the composure to sit quietly all scrunched up in their cars seats for six hours) down to the aforementioned Southern California location. Our next planned trip south is in October. But Uncle Paul didn’t seem terribly enchanted with the idea of a co-wedding/baptism. Huh.
So today at the local parish it was. GrampaStavo and Uncle Paul were on hand to partake in the sacrament. The actual Catholics in my family, GrammaJ and G.G. attended in spirit since they weren’t able to make the constantly revolving baptismal timetable.
I spent the morning trying to clean the house (shove all the clutter into another room) and putting away all the boys toys so the place would look presentable for the little gathering we were hosting after the ceremony. GrampaStavo made faces at the boys, who in turn laughed hysterically and the odd man who sounded funny, but seemed fun.
Satisfied with my illusion of a well-kept home, I left the muppets with GrampaStavo and headed upstairs to get ready. Clad in my Kate Middleton copycat dress, I returned to the living room a half hour later. Grampa was seated precisely where I left him. The muppets were still laughing seemingly where I’d left them. But obviously, this one particular room at my house had experienced a full-fledged tornado while I’d showered. Every single toy had been removed from its cubby or drawer and flung haphazardly around. “They took things out again,” GrampaStavo informed me. Destroy grinned and squealed his happy scream as he charged through the wreckage. Search offered me a rubber truck.
Jon woke up and went from sleeping to suited in five minutes flat. Ten minutes later, we’d stuffed the muppets into their fabulous four-piece suits (SO CUTE!), put their shoes on and then put the shoes they took off and threw across the room back on, and we were off to the church!
The ceremony was lovely. Four little guys were baptized today – one boy about a year older and then other about a year younger. We were so blessed to have so many of our friends and family join us. And as my friend Abe pointed out, “the children vastly outnumber me.”
Father told the congregation not to worry about any um, contributions, that the babies may make to the ceremony because this was their day. Well, that and he is one of eight children so he can easily tune them out. He told us the story about how his family would line up every night before bed to receive a blessing and the light of Christ from their parents. They were told they could always turn to God if they were afraid and He would be there to protect them. (Of course, Father also acknowledged this may have been a ploy to discourage a burnt out nightlight from sending a baseball team’s worth of children into their room…)
Search and Destroy seemed intrigued by the entire process. And although Destroy proffered a deathly glare at Father as he was leaned over the baptismal font, neither brother cried. This was quite the opposite reaction from the older boy who received the sacrament after our guys. He began to wail and another little boy turned and announced to the church at large, “I was RIGHT! I TOLD you he was going to cry.”
Smart, snappy and holy my boys are. Proud parents: Jon and Tricia. Proud godparents: Parker and Ivy.
Back at the house, I had the food out for our guests in less than 15 minutes. The mass quantities of playmates (12, including the muppets) were deposited into Toys R Us replica of a living room and set free to run amuck. They did. Then we fed them cupcakes. Because what tired groups of children really need is a sugar high in a foreign baby proofed room.
Search and Destroy noted their readiness for lunch by trying to tackle all adults with prepared plates and pirate the selected bounties. Once restrained in their high chairs, they proceeded to down a slice of pizza, a kiwi, a bowl of fruit salad and half a container of cheese ravioli. Each.
With the excitement of today, a warm evening bath was just what everyone needed. I left the muppets to dry off with GrampaStavo and raced upstairs to grab a new box of diapers. I returned 30 seconds later. GrampaStavo was once again sitting where I left him. Destroy, on the other hand, had pulled himself up next to the couch.
My naked little son looked up, squealed his happy scream and fell asleep cuddled in GrampaStavo’s arms.
G.G – we love you and wish you’d been here. Your “honeys” can’t wait to see you. And with their new light of God (resulting from today’s Holy Dipping), they’re sleeping soundly with prayers for you in their innocent absolved little hearts.