Let it shine … christening part 2
I woke up on Sunday morning feeling really rather shabby after very little sleep (late night and mind racing … Hope slept through perfectly bless her), I was also frustrated as I wanted to bound, child like, into the two Godparent’s rooms and jump up and down on their beds shouting, “Wake up, you’re here!” – I had to restrain myself as one was jet lagged and the other wiped out after a couple of months on the road, instead I fed Hope and then crept into the kitchen to see my very jet lagged brother and have a chat with him. We’re very different, he’s steady and quiet and has achieved so much in his life, I’m erratic and emotional and bounce from project to project … he Wol, me Tigger to coin a Winnie the Pooh analogy … and I absolutely adore him. We sat contemplating the day with my mother and enjoyed a bit of a calm before the storm… then it all got too much for me and when I heard Hope wake up after her early morning feed I picked her up and marched into her Godfather Jake’s room and woke him up by shoving a small person up close to him. It was a wonderful meeting and I left him with her while I went up to wake up Godmother Clare … the two of them then headed into the sitting room and played on the piano and baby gym with her … I went and had a bath and lay there in the bubbles grinning from ear to ear as I heard Twinkle Twinkle (very out of tune on Mother’s old piano) waft up the stairs.
Before long the smell of bacon tempted me back downstairs and I was greeted by a huge breakfast / brunch and two very proud Godparents and a smiling Hope. Her father had to head off out to meet up with his own family who were travelling from North and South the rest of us tucked in to a hearty breakfast and Hope had another snooze. We then zipped off, via Roy and his family for a quick hello to my house to get Hope ready, get her mother ready (ha) and get her two Godparents ready. Ms LA gave her a beautiful bracelet, Mr NYC wrote her a wonderful song (which he and we managed to lose the piece of paper with the handwritten lyrics on to en route to church), “A little Hope goes a long way” … she certainly does.
We arrived at St George’s to be met by a flood of people arriving early (45 minutes early) and other Godparents pushing tables around and getting orders of service out of their boxes and greeting people. After about 10 minutes of frazzled faff things settled down, the church started to fill up, wonderful Bronwen started to play the organ, Hope donned her stunning gown (I can’t remember if I said that it was my Grandfather’s christening gown .. worn by my father as well … missed me but we think my brother wore it … and now Hope … that makes me so happy) and I tottered around the church in my high heels (why why why do people wear heels …yes I know, they make you look more leggy and so on but they hurt so much) and chatted to people as the church filled up.
I got Hope’s gang of eight together for the first time … that was fun, they all scrubbed up so well … she also has two ‘unGodly’ parents who were in Africa, and there are two other people who I fully expect to play a huge part in her life who also mean the world to me one in New Zealand and the other in Los Angeles … that would have made a round 10 … but I think 8 Godparents (4 Godfathers and 4 Godmothers) will do, the other two can provide back up to all of us! Obviously being disorganised I didn’t get a picture of all 8 of them together … sorry Hope.
In brief … and at huge risk of offending them all:
– the glamorous one I’ve got into all sorts of scrapes with and who tries so hard to keep me up with fashion and always makes me feel special
– the musical one who has the sweetest of souls and the biggest of hearts, great humility and makes me grin from ear to ear
– the literary one who I’ve travelled the world with and knows me inside out and backwards
– the family one who I often work with, who also believes in the underdog and who has been known to lead me astray
– the gentle home making one who I admire and aspire to be like every time I’m with her
– the intrepid one who I’ve loved since the first day we met at University who makes the best margaritas in all the world
– the one I’ve known all my life (and our mothers, fathers and grandparents knew each other before we were born) who I look to for guidance on everything from parenting to Christening shoes (yes my sore feet were her fault!!)
– the proper wonderfully upstanding one who knows the right way to behave in almost any situation and dances to Elvis Presley when he’s drunk
I adore all of them and am so proud and happy that they have all agreed to be Godparents and the core members of Hope’s gang. She truly is a very lucky girl.
We decided early on that Godparents shouldn’t be family members .. they are already, Aunties and Uncles and Cousins and so on and as such have a huge and important role to play in Hope’s life … she comes from two fairly small families so this way she has her own gang to turn to not just for moral or spiritual guidance but for mischief, love and inspiration.
Where was I? Ahhh yes, they all met each other for the first time … that was fun although I wish we’d had a chance to sneak off together and have a real love in, but I’m sure there will be plenty of time for that in years to come.
People kept on arriving, and as we were rushing round looking for Jake’s lyrics and ensuring that the ‘ice your own cupcakes’ area was near the children’s area, the calm love of Hannah and Lynda the two curates at St George’s kept us on track. The choir at church had all agreed to be a choir for us, this was such a privilege and with Bronwen’s wonderful organ playing the service started only about 5 minutes late! There were no photographs taken during the actual service so you’ll just to imagine the packed church, the goodwill and love radiating round and the wonderfully dressed congregation ranging from 3 weeks old to over 90 years old, the high high ceiling and the sense of joy everyone felt.
Hannah welcomed everyone and then Jake (having sorted out a microphone in the final seconds before the service began) sang his song for Hope, tucked behind the organist out of sight to most people. It was wonderful to hear his voice echoing round the church and nobody would have ever known he didn’t have the music and lyrics in front of him and that he had to make some of it up on the fly … the skill of a wonderful musician. This beautiful peaceful start was greeted by rapturous applause and we then burst into the wonderful Thine Be The Glory … my favourite hymn.
Hope sat silent and watchful through the two readings (Moses being found in the rushes and “suffer the little children to come unto me”), she gazed adoring up at Lynda during the first part of her sermon but after a while seemed to think it was time to sing again so I had to stand up by a pillar and let her observe from on high which calmed her down. After the sermon we sang more hymns, Lord of All HOPEfulness and Here I am Lord … both of which sounded amazing being sung by almost 200 people. Hope was then baptised and christened … she slept through the signing of the cross but did wake up (and let the devil out) when the water was poured on her head … she howled, looked around and then went straight back to sleep!
Luke Berry read the wonderful poem his mother Jane had written for The Spaniard / Hope, and I know it wasn’t just me that welled up. Then we all sang He Who Would Valiant Be and the service drew to a close .. or so everyone thought … Hope was given her candle, and her mother, her silly mother insisted on saying something. I thanked everyone for coming … from across the world and from next door, thanked Hope’s beautiful grown up sister and handsome brothers (Roy’s other children), her Grandmothers, family and friends, and then called up the spirit of Springsteen and warned everyone to be ready for something completely different and to be prepared to dance in the aisles. Steven, the church warden, hiding in the choir vestry took my signal and we were all greeted by cheers and shouts as the recording echoed round the church, “I want you to rise from your seats now and join us please” exhorted Bruce Springsteen (sadly not in person but from a few years back in Dublin!!) .. everyone did and we all (well some of us at least) danced and sang along to “This little light of mine”, me holding Hope, Roy beaming and dancing beside us and Jake holding the candle… huge fun … and we will indeed do all we can to help her let her little light shine … every day (every day) every day …
The wonderful old gospel song was just right for Hope’s christening … “Jesus gave me light and I’m going to let it shine”.
to be continued …