I shock people with this confession: I hardly remember a thing about the day my Peanut was born. I took the drugs they gave me, and they were glorious, and then I slept through most of a fourteen-hour labor and then I gave birth to the most beautiful bald raisin-child I have ever seen in my life. Mostly I remember asking my mom why she was holding my hand and not taking pictures afterward and then throwing up – not my finest moment, but I blame it on the drugs; I have always been a lightweight.
I do remember almost every moment of the day of Peanut’s Baptism. I remember thinking how at home and welcome the Cooks and St. Luke’s made us feel. I remember thinking how lucky she was to have three Godparents who take that title so seriously. None of them are related to us by blood or birth but all of them had come to my life, and by extension hers, through the church in which we had found a home. And still nothing beats being surrounded by a church full of Episcopalians at a Baptism. I am pretty sure no matter how small the congregation and no matter how big the Sanctuary, the building must physically swell to hold all the grace and love it holds on those days.
At a Baptism in the Episcopal Church, the Parents and Godparents are asked to do two things: Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is brought up in the Christian faith and life? and Will you by your prayers and witness help this child to grow into the full stature of Christ? I might say that the latter would fill me with fear, and maybe it should (because seriously, the FULL STATURE of Christ??), except that her Godparents are phenomenal people and Christians and Episcopalians, and if she grows up to have the faith and flaws and love of God and other people of any or all of them, I will count that in my column of mom wins.
On that day, when my Peanut took her first Communion and we all said the Eucharist prayers and we renewed our Baptismal Vows, she became officially part of the wider family of Christians and the smaller rag-tag family of Episcopalians and, I like to think, specifically, Kansas Episcopalians (adopted). And I will always tell her about that day. Not only because I actually remember it, but because that was the day a church full of Episcopalians, some she knew and many she didn’t, prayed for and loved her in a very big way. And isn’t that the point? That God did not give us these little people to raise all on our own? Even on the days when I fail miserably at being a mom, I know she is loved by the church where and in which she was baptized, by her Godparents, wherever they are in the world, and by this extended family by which we both have been so very blessed. On the thirteenth of November every year, I will tell my daughter her Baptism story, and I will remember that she has a community of people who not only love her but promised to help her out with that whole faith thing.