The 30th June is special for your father and I – it is the date we were married. You were part of our Big Day last year, wrapped up inside me (most probably squished uncomfortably by my wedding dress); kicking my hand through the wedding ceremony; hearing our declarations of love, our promises, our speeches, our laughter; being jostled by my whale-like attempts at ceilidh dancing. I was 5 months pregnant with you on the day your father and I became husband and wife.
This year the 30th June was doubly special for us, as you were part of our anniversary celebrations. One year later and we stood at the alter of the same church, in front of the same minister – but it was you who wore the white dress. This was the day you were Christened.
Your godmother, Clare (one of my oldest and dearest friends) carried you in, as is the tradition. You sat on her knee as the minister welcomed us, and although you wanted to stand on her lap, you didn’t cry or squirm. You made happy noises (loudly). You pulled at the lace on your gown. You behaved amazingly well. When it was time to stand at the font, Clare passed you to your father and you gazed at the minister as he gently wet your head. You looked like you were taking everything in.
We turned you to face the small gathering of people (mainly family) and you immediately started to wave, which made everyone smile. When they clapped, you clapped. You really do love an audience. We took a lot of photos, trying to capture the happiness that seemed to radiate.
We will probably disagree about this one day, but I thought you looked beautiful in your gown. When I first tried it on you, I had thought I would laugh at the sight of my little boy in a pretty white dress. But it didn’t seem strange on you, just adorable.
It meant a lot to me that we had you Christened on our first wedding anniversary. I am someone who likes to reflect on things, and when I look back on our first year of married life, it is you that I see. When I think of what we achieved together in that year, it is you that I think of. Newly-weds and new parents – we were both simultaneously. Holding you in my arms at the front of the church on Sunday, one year after I stood there with my hand pressed against my own white dress as you kicked and moved, was something so special. And when I think about the Christening now, all I can see are smiles. Which is the same when I think of our wedding…
This was the reading we chose for your Christening:
‘On Children’ ~ by Kahlil Gibran
‘Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.’