Our family, perhaps like most families these days, is somewhat religiously eclectic. I was raised in both the
(my mom's) and Catholic (my dad's) traditions. I was baptized in my mom's church,
shortly before my 15th birthday (I think. It's possible I was almost 14?). And now I'm a Disciples pastor.
I think it's fair to characterize the religious aspect of Tim's upbringing by saying that Tim's parents transitioned from practicing Catholics to cultural Catholics over the course of the first years of his childhood. Both he and his sister were baptized and have godparents, but weren't "raised in the church" after that point -- attending kindergarten in a Catholic school was basically the extent of his religious education. (As babies, my three siblings and I were neither baptized nor dedicated, since my parents wanted us to choose for ourselves. They made sure we got as much religious education as possible in BOTH traditions... so we could have the information to make that choice.)
So, when we had our first kid, it was pretty clear we would not have her baptized as an infant. This was interesting because I was serving a United Church of Christ church
at that time, and it is their tradition to baptize babies. So, we had what we think was their first infant dedication, a brief ceremony during a Sunday worship service where the parents dedicate the baby to God, and the parents and congregation dedicate themselves to nurturing the child in faith -- I put together the liturgy. This is a pretty common ceremony in churches that practice "believer's baptism" (that is, baptizing people who are old enough to decide for themselves). Fortunately, that congregation is very open to a variety of experiences and perspectives (even in worship!), and it didn't seem to be anything other than a joyful moment for everyone.
Anyway, it turned out that even though it didn't matter to Tim whether water got sprinkled on the little baby or not, the *godparents* part was important to him, because those relationships have been special to him throughout his life. So, we had an infant dedication with godparents -- we chose the alliterative pairing of Jessica and Jesse
(Tim's only and my oldest sibling).
Okay, yes, I realize the title says *Maya's* dedication... but you know me, I had to go into the theological background at least a little bit... and it turns out this is one of those "second child" stories, too. Because Quinn's dedication was an Event. We planned it so that Tim's parents and sister (who was the godmother, after all!) could make the cross-country trip to be there, we borrowed a fancy christening gown
(which made the cross-country trip with the grandparents), and nearly ALL my in-town relatives came. Which was a lot.
Well, sometime during the first, California, half of our whirlwind, bi-coastal baby
tour introducing Maya to her family and friends, I realized something. While still in California, we had developed the following vague travel-planning guidelines: 1) After we get home after this, please let's stay in Nicaragua for a good long while 2) Let's come back to California next time we visit the U.S. and 3) maybe Christmas in the Washington, DC area in 2012? That meant that AFTER the baby-tour visit, it would be more than a year until we were back in the DC area, in the congregation where we are members (University Christian, the location of not only my baptism, but also our wedding and my ordination). And, since it's called "infant" dedication, it might be a good idea to take advantage of visiting our home church while the kid is still an infant.
So, instead of the big family event that Quinn's dedication was, it was planned totally at the last minute. The Dress was handed off to us the day before we left Fresno, just in case (we still hadn't totally decided/ figured out if we could even make it happen). We called the church to see if we could still get it into the bulletin at the last minute. We asked the godparents at the last minute (and in one case, after the fact!). My sister said "what would you have done if I hadn't been able to make it to church?" Little did she know... we had no Plan B! We barely had a Plan A. My older brother's family already had other plans. And then, my dad had a (mild!) heart attack two days before, so it wasn't just the California grandparents who missed it -- all three of her grandparents got a copy of the church bulletin in the mail. Fortunately, my aunt and uncle and even some cousins who were in town for Thanksgiving did come and help fill in a couple "family rows" near the front.
But, I was really happy that it worked out. It felt good to present Maya to our church family in that formal way.
Gloria, the acting senior pastor, talked about children and the raising of them in faith, and asked us to make some commitments. She then took Maya and walked her down the aisle, presenting her to the congregation.
, when she came back up front to our assembled family and handed Maya back to me she took Quinn from Tim's arms, carried her out and presented her as well.
I loved the way that took what could have been a tough moment for Quinn (of little-sister-getting-the-spotlight) and included her in the blessing of the moment.
We decided to think outside the box a little when choosing godparents.
Tim's "honorary sister" Elisabeth is her godmother,
my younger brother Eric is the godfather, and my sister Amy (a pagan who goes to a UU church) is the goddessmother. :)
The one thing that we learned from Quinn's dedication and did *better* the second time
was to get more photos of Maya
in the dress