Every time one of my children is baptized a different thing jumps out at me. Today it was Father’s words about Anthony becoming a brother in Christ. For some reason that really struck a chord and has continued to resonate throughout this afternoon. My son, this tiny baby I gave birth to eight short weeks ago, is now my brother. Oh that gives me goosebumps.
Despite all the unexpected craziness of this day and my disappointments about how things played out, the most important thing about today was this fundamental change. Anthony who was until today only my son is now so, so, much more. What a wealth was conferred on him today when he was officially received into the Body of Christ. Now he like all of the baptized, shares in Christ’s life. Now he receives the calling to be Priest, Prophet, and King.
But there was plenty of craziness. It’s a good thing I’m pretty cool under pressure because today there was more than a little. First, my sister couldn’t get out of work so we were one man down. I was rushing about like mad to finish food prep while my dad vacuumed and straightened and Dom and Bella went to get the cake and deli platter and drinks etc.
I was going so fast and furious when Dom came home with the peppers. I tossed them onto the cutting board and started dicing. I sliced off the end of my thumb. Ouch. It was bleeding profusely and I couldn’t keep a Band-Aid on it. Instead, miles of gauze and lots of pressure. That pretty much put me out of commission. I wasn’t able to change into my cute white skirt and blouse, just wore the gray top and denim skirt I’d thrown on this morning.
Dom finished up the food as best he could. I couldn’t braid the girls’ hair so I just brushed it out and they wore it down. Anthony went to church in the clothes he had on and his godmother, Dom’s sister Francesca had to help put him into his baptismal gown.
While I was binding my thumb, my sister texted to say she was leaving work because she was throwing up. (She’s been suffering from mysterious dizziness and migraines and has a neurologist appt on Monday.) She saw the cars as she was passing the church on her way home, though, and decided to stop in anyway.
Then my sister-in-law informed me that Anthony had unload in his diaper during the opening prayers. It leaked through his clothes and onto his gown and onto his godmother. So much for bringing his garment unstained…. Dom had to do an emergency diaper change during the Gospel and homily. Father was unphased, however. His homily was very beautiful. Though I can’t recall much of it, the thumb was really throbbing and I was rather distracted. It involved a young parishioner with Down Syndrome who thinks Father is Jesus and what a great sense of responsibility he feels to live up to that expectation. Or something like that. At any rate a wonderful meditation on the responsibility of bringing Christ to our children in the way we live.
Still, Anthony calmed down after the diaper change and—despite our predictions to the contrary—didn’t make a peep when the water poured over his head. Instead he seemed rather happy.
One of my favorite moments in the ceremony was the Litany of Saints. Father asked everyone to add in their favorites. So we added in most of our family’s patrons. What a beautiful sense of being a part of the communion of saints, surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. Especially poignant when Father added St Francis, which name has a very special significance for us that he didn’t know—I think he just added him for my sister-in-law, Francesca.
We took pictures and then everyone headed back to our house. I supervised Anthony’s changing, grabbed a sandwich and said my goodbyes. I was bummed to miss the party; but it was off to the ER for me. My dad drove me and we brought Anthony because I didn’t know how long we might be there.
Well it didn’t take too terribly long; but we got home about fifteen minutes after the last of our guests left. The doctor said I’d actually cut a piece off of my finger so there was nothing to stitch. He stuffed the wound with a foam that just dissolves in. They also gave me a tetanus shot since I couldn’t remember the last time I’d got one.
So it was a sort of crazy beautiful day. My thumb is throbbing; but I’ve been bending down to breath in the sweet smell of holiness from Anthony’s head. My son has been adopted into the family of the Great King. He is a royal prince, a new creation. Oh what joy to enter into Holy Week with a new Christian to bear us company on our journey and to remind us of our goal!