Thursday, May 12, 2011

godparents' day

Catherine and Greta and I were sitting at one of our favorite tables at the Gristmill, looking over the green riverbanks. It was the day after Mother's Day, when we had our own celebration and gifts. We'd invited Kathy and Sean McMains to join us partway in. They showed up, we exploded into conversation, and then, at a pause, Catherine said, in that tone that makes you think something is coming, "Welllll, we invited you here, partially to enjoy dessert with us, and celebrate Mother's Day, and Barry's birthday, ... and ... we were hoping, celebrate Godparents' Day."

They said yes.

What's fun to me is the dramatic irony of it: they didn't know they'd be asked that day, but we did. From the moment they showed up, I enjoyed watching them. Sean immediately cooed over the girl; Kathy immediately picked her up and started feeding her little bites of applesauce; through the whole meal they showed a concern and care for our girl that confirmed our choice.

So. Now Greta has godparents. I don't know much about the whole tradition, not having ever had any, and not being too aware of godparents in my friends' lives. Some schoolmate might offhandedly mention their godparents: to a Baptist child's mind (at least to mine), the word had a Catholic incense to it, allure and foreignness and near-certain spiritual peril. But that was about it. Catherine's church and social circle had the tradition, though. Her godparents are heartful folks who have supported and prayed for her and been part of her life for its entirety. They've been the adults-who-aren't-your-parents that every kid needs. For me, they've been conversational companions, cigar-sharers, and affirming welcomers to their goddaughter's suitor.

As we explore what it is to be godparents to little Micah Yang (an honor bestowed on us a few months ago), we'll be all the more pleased to do it in the best of company.


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