|What? Do I look stressed? My death grip on my toddler.|
|The momentary stillness in which the pastor shows her the water.|
On Sunday, November 18th, Charlotte was finally baptized.
Let's just say that there's a reason that people typically don't get baptized as toddlers. In case you are unfamiliar with the unpredictable, squirrelly nature of toddlers, I shall explain.
We had ALL of Chris's side of the family at our house for Thanksgiving, including his parents from Nevada and his brother, sister-in-law, and nieces from Seattle. Thus, the time seemed as perfect as it could be for Charlotte to be baptized.
Why did it take us so long? Well, with moving and whatnot, it took some time to find a church. Next, it took time to become members, which is required for our child's baptism. And the biggest hurdle? Agreeing on WHEN to do it.
Obviously, neither of us wanted to omit OUR side of the family when it came to the event, and having 20 people at our house at once--meaning, BOTH families simultaneously--was simply not practical. So, we stalled and stalled and stalled.
Until . . . .
Lorelei was born. Finally, we had a way to make the baptisms even-steven fair for our two families: split 'em up 50-50.
We decided to do Charlotte's in November when everyone was here for Thanksgiving and then do Lorelei's next month when my whole family is in Maryland for Christmas. Period. Was the arrangement ideal? No, but it was FAIR.
So, one day after our 5-year wedding anniversary--a detail that is irrelevant but for some reason SEEMS relevant to this milestone in our family--ten people with the last name "Hofmann" trekked over to the little brick church. That's a lot of people to get out the door on time.
I wanted Charlotte to wear white for her baptism, but she was WAY too old for a long, lacy christening gown, and I didn't want her to look like a flower girl either. What to do? Fashion is important, after all. Eventually, I found the cutest little ivory sweater dress with a crocheted top. After some worrying about climate, I realized she'd need a jacket. However, I know Charlotte and she LOVES a good jacket. I predicted she'd refuse to take off whatever jacket she wore for the actual baptism, which meant her hot pink North Face fleece would NOT suffice. I found an adorable little brown jacket that I could live with her keeping on during the actual baptism (which she did--my fears were totally justified). Finally, I got her basic and quite versatile dark brown mary jane shoes.
As I was frantically applying mascara to my own sleep-deprived and rather stressed face on the morning of the baptism (thanks, Lorelei, for needing an extra feeding and ratcheting up the stress!), Chris stuck his head into the bathroom. "Charlotte wants to wear her boots," he said.
"Fine," I said.
"I think it's because Kylie and Maggie are wearing boots," he continued.
"Fine," I repeated. Charlotte's cousins are a couple of very well dressed little girls. I was not one bit surprised they wore boots.
"Is that okay?" Apparently Chris totally doubted my calmness about our child's baptism wardrobe change.
"Chris, the brown boots are cute, they'll work fine with her dress, and frankly, they add a big fat element of sass that totally fits Charlotte's personality. I can think of nothing better for her to be baptized in, and the fact she picked it out herself is even better. Boots. Are. Fine."
(Mommy wore boots too, by the way.)
"I agree!" Chris said, obviously relieved to not have to fight Charlotte over shoes.
So, there we were at the church, Charlotted decked out in utterly non-traditional baptism garb, save the white-ish dress peeking out from under her jacket. Meanwhile, I was a nervous nellie. We decided to keep Charlotte with us during the service, and she proved oh so impossibly wiggly. I eventually removed her and entertained her outside (a lovely brisk late autumn day gave us much sun) until Chris popped his head out and motioned for us to come back.
We stood in front with Charlotte and Chris's brother and sister-in-law, her godparents. And, well, I could describe what happened next through my mommy lense of "disaster!" and "why is she doing this?!" and "I'd be absolutely humiliated if not every person in that sanctuary was already completely aware of Charlotte's toddler nature!" but the pastor himself wrote a blog post about her baptism that is, I think, far more articulate and much more, um, POSITIVE than how I viewed her behavior. You can read what happened next here.
The important thing, of course, was that Charlotte was baptized. As I told the pastor this past Sunday, commenting that I loved his blog post, the whole thing was, well . . . . it was all very Charlotte.
And to that, he grinned and enthusiastically agreed. "It was," he said, "very Charlotte."
Oh, my first-born girl! I do love her so very much.