Thursday, April 16, 2015

Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Fred

I was in Wisconsin last weekend for baby Fred's baptism. He's nearly seven months old now, which seems improbable in the extreme. I spent several days with him not long after his birth, and I like to think, from the way he clutched my hair and grinned at me this time, that he remembered me, though I'm pretty sure he clutches and grins at everybody. He's a very sunny baby.

His older brother Louie (age 2 1/2) loves me, but didn't spend much time demonstrating it this go-round. That's because ALL THE COUSINS. Louie loves loves loves his cousins Huey and Dewey, and also loves his two cousins on his dad's side, and he got to see them all last weekend, which means that Louie spent the entire time shrieking either, "I missed you so much!" or "I'm NOT tired!"

I got to be Fred's godmother (I am also Dewey's.). He was baptised in the same gown his father once wore, in the church his father attended as a boy, by a wholly new young priest. As is the custom in my own church, the priest invited all the children at Mass to come right up by the font to see the baptism. The font at Holy Name is up to the right of the altar. Louie and Dewey came up to the altar steps with the other kids, and then Louie decided he wanted to be by his mom, so he climbed the steps, but then the big scary priest was in the way, and then Louie realized he was sort of onstage, up there, so he ran back and forth, giggling. I started for him but my dad was faster, leaping out of the pew and snagging him. The other cousins found this very amusing.

Sweet Fred slept through his entire baptism, three scoopfuls of water and an anointing with holy oil. He lay in my arms afterward, a heavy warm weight, smelling like cloves (I think that was the oil). My own children are half a generation ahead of my siblings' children, and were, last weekend, at a big high school tennis tournament and swotting for a college management exam. I still felt their presence in the church, surrounded by all the holy noise of our tribe. How lucky we are, my brother and sister and me.