Last Sunday, in the christening gown worn by her big sister and father before her, we welcomed our little Elma into our church family at her baptism.
We’re really lucky to have a church family whom we treasure and who collectively dote on our girls (a perk I suspect of producing two rather cute little ones in pretty dresses after a parade of equally charming, though less beribboned, boys) and it was lovely to share Elma’s special day with them, as well as with the family and friends who travelled to be with us.
For us, baptism isn’t just the chance to gather everyone together for cake (although that’s not to say we should throw the baby out with the bathwater) but the celebration of the enormous privilege we have in being Elma’s parents and the blessing she is in our lives.
I always think of Hannah from the Old Testament at baptisms (1 Samuel if you’re curious). She prayed for years and years for a child and when she finally had her son, took him to the temple when he was only a little older than my Kitty to give him to God for a life of service. That must have been a horribly hard thing to do as a mother, and if I can show even a tiny part of her strength and faithfulness in bringing up my beautiful girls I’ll consider it a job well done.
Happily for all of us it doesn’t involve leaving either of them in church, although as Kitty has built a firm association between church and the biscuit and squash afterwards she might not mind too much until they run out of hobnobs.
We had a beautiful service, with hymns from our wedding (and Kitty’s baptism), a reading by Elma’s godmother, and a sermon full of meaning (and a fair few in jokes), culminating in that very special moment of baptism in our church’s 8th century stone font.
Elma slept through all of it.
After the service we all piled back to our house. It’s a medium sized family home and clearly I’d learnt nothing from Kitty’s baptism when we had so many people squished in the house that they were sat on the stairs, because I invited just as many people if not more, and arranged it for the middle of winter when no one would choose to spend a significant amount of time in the quagmire that claims to be our garden.
Actually, that’s not entirely true, I did learn something; I bought a teapot, and I think it saw a good deal of use. In the end only the toddlers were boosted into the garden to curtail their attempts to trip us all up with stray trains/vegetable flash cards/Disney stuffies, so we must be making progress.
Despite my very best intentions, I didn’t pick up my camera until after almost everyone had gone home so most of these photos are from Dad and if any of the family are reading and have some nice ones, please to send for the girls’ memory books.