Amor

Last Sunday my youngest son, my baby, was baptized. The only thing is, “my baby” is 8 years old, far past infancy when most Catholic children are baptized. Our oldest son was baptized on a trip to El Salvador when he was a year old at my Suegra’s insistence, but we never got around to it for our second son.

I would say that we’re bad Catholics, but I’m not even Catholic so I am putting all the culpa on my husband. I was raised Protestant and never officially converted, so an 8 year old getting baptized is completely normal to me, since we do it when the child willing expresses a desire to be baptized.

Anyway, after the Padre made a joke about our son being old enough to get married, he consented to baptizing him. We were surprised that the Padre barely hesitated, not because of the child’s age, but because I’m not Catholic and my husband and I are not married in the Catholic church. (I think that Suegra lied to the church in El Salvador about all of this when our oldest son was baptized.)

So, our son, who requested to be baptized, was very excited. In the days leading up to the baptism, we explained a lot of things to him about what the ceremony meant and what would happen. We explained the part about padrinos a few times, but I could see that he wasn’t quite understanding me, so I told him in English.

“Padrinos means ‘Godparents’ in Spanish.”
“Padrinos are Godparents?”
“Yes.”
“I’m going to have a Godmother?!”
“Yes, and a Godfather, too.”

His little eyes sparkled and that’s when I realized that the only point of reference he has for what a “Godmother” is, would be from the story of Cinderella.

“Honey, you know that real Godmothers aren’t magical, right? It’s not like a fairy Godmother…”

“…Um… I know that…” he said, (but rather unconvincingly.)

After that conversation, and several others, purchasing a candle, and other such preparations, we were ready.

The day of the ceremony we sat down in the first row, the seats reserved for those participating in the service, and listened to the Padre’s homily about “Amor”. He said it’s the most important thing on this Earth, to show love. The Padre gave several examples but at one point he said, “This past week I had to call the church office to discuss the importance of love. There are so many rules and regulations for things like baptisms. I told them, ‘Would you rather show the people God’s love, or bureaucracy?’”

Obviously there must have been some internal debate at our church as to whether we should be allowed to baptize our son. I’m glad that the Padre chose to show love rather than to block us out with red tape as others were apparently attempting to do.

I’m not a strongly religious person. I’ve struggled with my faith since I was a little child, but I do believe Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” I don’t understand why anyone would want to prevent parents from bringing their child to God.

I can’t help that I was raised Protestant, and as for the small civil ceremony where my husband and I married – If one believes that God is everywhere, then is He not just as present in that court room as He is in the church?

As for my own faith in God, I have no way of controlling the doubts that cloud my heart, but at least I’m honest about them instead of pretending to be something I’m not. The important thing here is that my husband and I are willing to raise him in the church, regardless of our own personal spiritual struggles.

At the end of the day, our son was baptized and now he’s talking about wanting to study for First Communion. This day, amor was declared the winner. I only wish that were always the case.

Posted on May 4, 2010, in amor, beliefs, Corazón, humor, niños, suegra, wisdom. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. That was very nice. Kind of same case between my sister and her husband, we are protestant and my bil catholic and he insisted on christening my niece, the father knew, but he did not object.

    I wish that in all religions would be padres, pastors, rabys (not sure of spelling) and their muslim counterparts that would preach and feel that way.

    • Señora López

      @ Micky – I agree. If all religions showed more “amor”, imagine how many less problems this world would have.

  2. Wow! found you on Twitter and glad I did. Mi esposo is in my ear daily because our youngest son (he’s 2) hasn’t been baptized yet. Like you, I’m Protestant and the only reason we got the oldest two done at 5 months was because we took trips to California (where we are from) to visit Hub’s familia when they were each that age. Cost prevents another trip out west (we live in D.C. now) and since I’m not Catholic, we aren’t current (ie paying or attending) members of a local church, nor married in one I’ve been all avoid-y about finding somewhere to do it. So, this give me hope…it can happen even if we wait until he’s 8! I read your About Me page and found many commonalities. Funny how you stumble upon someone online with whom you share things. Only, I think I am more Latin than the guy I married (he’s Mexican American, emphasis on the American). He doesn’t speak Spanish (I do, from years of teaching Spanish speaking only students in CA and Texas). And, he can’t cook a thing (Mexican or otherwise). I tear up some enchiladas, frijoles, carne asada. But we try to instill some of his culture into our boys’ lives (and mine too, I’m African American) even if sometimes we have to Google it! Thanks for sharing your triumphant baptism story. I’ll pass it along to him…all hope is not lost!

    • Señora López

      @Parentingbydummies – Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and for sharing that. I was kind of hesitant to post this experience because I had been burned pretty badly last time I brought up the Catholic church and someone interpreted my comments as sacrilegious. It started a lot of drama I wasn’t looking for! I’m glad that so far, this story is being taken in the spirit it was offered.

      Your situation with baptizing (or not!) your children sounds very similar to mine. I hope you’re able to find a Padre as open-minded as ours.

      You don’t live too far from me. Maybe we can be amigas :) … (I always admired how easy it is for children to make friends. They can be like, “Hi, want to be my friend?”, so I’m just going to emulate that even if it sounds desperate from a grown adult. LOL.)

      That’s great that you are giving your boys their roots, and lucky that your husband found you to help with that! My husband immigrated here when he was about 19 years old so he’s fluent in Spanish and knows his culture, but I’m also the driving force in our family when it comes to teaching the children these sorts of things. For many years my husband wouldn’t even speak Spanish to them because he was worried they wouldn’t learn English. I assured him that Spanish was going to be the struggle and English would come easily … He didn’t believe me and I’m still mad at him. LOL. He’s started speaking Spanish with them more, but I regret the opportunity that was missed for them to make the connections in their brains as infants.

      Anyway – I look forward to visiting your blog as well. Thanks for stopping by.

    • I’ve been looking for your twitter account…can you share the name?

      Thanks! :)

      • Señora López

        @Amanda – If you click “Tweets” in the sidebar to the right, it should take you right there. Also, on the “Email y más” page in the sidebar, I’ve listed my Twitter account.

        It’s @Latinaish

  3. This is almost exactly what happened to us when we tried to baptise our oldest daughter. We had to sit in front of a church panel and explain our desire to have our child baptised and they judged our intentions. They were laypersons, not clergy, and I was completely offended. I decided right then and there that we would leave it up to our kids to decide whether or not they wanted to become part of the religion we were both raised in. Jesus wasn’t baptised until he was 32, so there you have it.

    Incidentally, both my kids have been exposed to our religion through school, and both expressed a complete disinterest in it. They both feel that too much negativity happens in this world in the name of religion. I’m happy for people who find solace and comfort in religion, but for our family, we haven’t found that through the church.

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