Monday, April 16, 2007

Baptized in a Nor'easter

Over the weekend, our son was baptized after mass at the church where we were married in Bowie, MD. I was nervous about how it would come off, considering the comedy of errors that was our wedding four years ago. Father Hill mixed up the readings; Jim's sister wound up reading an old testament verse about the virtues of a silent wife who keeps an orderly home.

But as expected, the morning was a kind of comedy of errors. I dressed Danny in his beautiful white outfit that I made for him two years before I got pregnant. We arrived at the church in the pouring rain. It turns out that this particular Sunday was First Communion for a handful of 1st graders, which usually extends mass by at least 15 minutes. Mass began and Father Hill, the priest who married us, was not there. I panic. Great, my mind screams, we drove all the way up to Maryland (and into a Nor'easter) and Father Hill won't even be here for the baptism!!

Then Jim turns to me during mass and says "I think there's a pin in his outfit." It had scratched Jim's finger. Later, I took a restless Danny out into the lobby where my family and Jim's had started to congregate. My cousin Tony, with long dreadlocks and an eyebrow ring, greeted us. Danny took one look at him and began to scream, and I couldn't calm him down. I suspected though that it wasn't Tony's unique appearance that upset him. The pin must have stuck him.

I then head toward my sister and noticed a large patch of vomit on the floor. Gee, I thought, I hope that wasn't my kid (otherwise known as Sir Pukesalot). Turns out it was Jim's nephew Jack, who had a stomach virus. After mass, Jim, sister-in-law Kathy and I tried to extract the pin that I had accidentally sewn into the garment. Jim finally took him to the car (in the pouring rain), balancing the kid, the umbrella and the car keys, and used pliers to yank the pin out.

After mass we began to congregate at the baptismal font. But some of our party was missing, including Jim, the godparents and a few friends. They were lured away by the once-monthly, post-mass donut and coffee social. The priest, who was not Father Hill but was very nice nonetheless, began when all were assembled. He's a mumbler and he kept losing his place while reading the baptism rite. So we have the baptism on silent video. By this time, Danny was fast asleep. The priest poured water on his head and Danny didn't even flinch.

The after party thrown by Nana Meehan was wonderful and I didn't want to leave. Jim could have been called to work today, so we had a harrowing five hour trip through the Nor'easter. A sample of the ride-home conversation as we hurtle past Jersey walls in the pouring rain:

"Jim, please slow down."
"I'm just keeping up with traffic," he says.
"What traffic? There's no one around us."

(That's man logic for you. It pains me to know that my sweet little boy will one day be a man and probably have a similar conversation with his wife.)

All kidding aside, the baptism was very special because it was in the church where I was confirmed and where we were married. We were surrounded by family and friends. So despite pouring rain, a pin, a pile of puke, a donut diversion and an absentminded priest, it came off pretty well.

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