It took seemingly forever to get Emily baptised. First there were the non-stop scheduling conflicts between the mandatory baptism course at St Etheldreda’s and Thesis Madness. Then, when that was finally resolved, there was the date – late January in the hopes that David’s sister Sarah, Emily’s Godmother, would be able to join us (she wasn’t, although that was probably just as well since we were moving five days after the baptism so life was pretty hectic). Emily ended up being 5.5 months old before we finally had it done. I think this is a new family record for delayed infant baptism/dedications.
This year, I knew what to expect with a Catholic Baptism celebration, so I actually got really excited about it beforehand (very rare for me). I knew we couldn’t expect a big turnout of friends, since most of our close friends had moved away from the area, and we were relatively new at our Parish so I didn’t expect it to have the same family-feel that Walter’s Baptism did, but I wanted to ensure we had some special memories made for our little Em.
Aside from the sacrament & commitment to raise the children in our faith, my biggest gift to my babies on their Baptism day is their gown. Finding a gown for Emily was a huge challenge, because I want something minimalist and affordable, which is pretty darn hard when these celebrations seem to be the baby version of a wedding in the commercial world! I ended up hitting up Waterside Antique's in Ely, where I found a Victorian baby’s gown. It was in pretty good condition and, best of all, it was plain & gave me ample space for embroidery. It didn’t take me long to figure out a design, centered around the August birth flower (the gladiola) and with a little discipline in ensuring I didn’t sit idle while watching a movie in the evening, I managed to finish it on time. My mum contributed to the outfit by knitting a pair of little slippers for Emily to wear, with buttons from one of my old baby outfits.
Our priest, Fr Tony, paid us a personal visit to discuss the Baptism details. I loved this. It was nice to be able to welcome him into our home and discuss the few details in a relaxed setting. I was surprised to learn that he automatically plans for baptisms outside the Mass, just as I was surprised to see that this is what friends have been doing recently. When he found out that we were hoping, and expecting, that Emily’s baptism would occur during the Mass he was really excited. I’m not sure why practicing Catholics have it outside the Mass, so perhaps someone can fill me in. I have always felt that the baptism/dedication/blessing is something to be done with the support of the church community, so having something more private seems really foreign to me.
Emily’s Baptism day was lovely. Looking back at the pictures, I can see how exhausted we were, but I didn’t feel it on the day. We felt so blessed that Emily’s Godfather, Rob, and his lovely wife Emma were able to join us for the day as Emma was pretty near the end of her pregnancy and I remember how exhausted the thought of any travel made me when I was at that stage. After Mass they came back to our place for a small lunch celebration (menu: wild rice soup, buns, ham, cheese, homemade sausage rolls, wine, fizzy juice, cake). We had such a lovely time celebrating with our dear friends, and were glad that we got to see them so close to our leaving Cambridgeshire.
|One proud Godfather|
|Emma, Rob, Emily, Walter, David, & Me (and St Etheldreda's hand in the reliquary behind us)|
|Learning from my mistakes -- this time, buy a cake and add writing in chocolate letters. So much easier than baking and decorating it myself!|
|Blessing with Chrism oil|
|Her beautiful Baptismal candle|
|fun with daddy!|
|Left to her own devices -- kicking her way free!|