At 7am on Sunday morning I was stood in my kitchen, still in pyjamas but with an apron on top and wielding the bread knife while I made near enough to 50 sandwiches. The girls were sat next door in an oddly emptied and slightly rearranged lounge eating their breakfast while Pip sat in his chair and wondered at all these odd goings on. In fact if you had come past our house you’d have been put to work pouring out crisps and nibbles and trying to find our serving plates. We laid out plates and glasses and more nibbles, and then some more nibbles just to be sure, and as family started to arrive we wiped the traces of jam from Elma’s chin and dressed the girls up in their best, hopped in and out of the shower, and finally, when everything else was ready, and almost everyone had left the house, H and I woke a slightly sleepy little Pip, dressed him in the gown worn by his aunt, father, uncle and sisters before him and took him down the hill to church to celebrate this very special of days, when he was formally welcomed into his church family with his baptism (the informal welcome having started about half an hour after we put a blue balloon in our front garden to announce his arrival which was duly spotted by our neighbours, who phoned the vicar, who came round to hear all about it and claim a cuddle!).
It’s hard to put into words how very special a moment it is. Right from the first moment that we arrived in our village we have felt so very welcomed and so very much part of our church, and our children have been loved and cherished in their turn, it’s not as if they’ve all been ignoring Pip or acting as if he doesn’t count until he’s baptised. I think the only way I can put it is to say that the moment and the service of baptism gave us the chance to give thanks for the very great privilege of being Pip’s parents, and to share that joy with family and friends, and it was also a moment for our church family and our family and friends to shout out to the world their love for Pip, their hopes and prayers for his future, and the support freely given to our little family. It’s always there in abundance but I think we both felt especially upheld.
And then we all piled back to our house to demolish the mountain of sandwiches and toast our little boy in bubbles, and the most amazing christening cake made by my sister (the smudgy bits are where his real name was)
He himself sat and stared, and wiggled little rainbow-clad toes (Elma’s handmedown Slugs & Snails being the perfect thing to keep him toasty warm during church). During the service he gave H a funny look as the first shell of water was poured over his head but by the second he was ready with a beaming smile and when this lovely new water game stopped after the third I think he was a bit sorry to see it go, and once we were back home he was more than happy to be cuddled and love and kissed and tickled,
until he decided that it was time for a little snooze and drifted off to sleep in his Godmummy’s arms whereupon he spent the rest of the afternoon blissfully slumbering in a variety of arms.
And the girls loved having all the family and their favourite church friends around them; they sipped lemonade from champagne flutes, played with their kitchen and at the end of the afternoon pulled out the Duplo to create the most enormous castle ever yet attempted
(at least we’re going to claim it was the children!)
while their small cousin managed get not one, not two, but five different renditions of “Tiger Tea!” (The Tiger Who Came to Tea), proving that he is both incredibly cute and very persuasive!
It felt like a celebration that was perfectly us; relaxed and happy and full of family and friends, and at the heart of it, one very very special young man whom we adore.