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July 16, 2013

Kali Davies-Anderson: Baby’s baptism wasn’t SUPPOSED to be funny, but ...

NEW CASTLE — My daughter Ivy turned 3 months old on July 14. She was baptized on the same day.

I experience some level of anxiety each and every time that I have to stand in front of the church. In December, we were asked to deliver the Advent reading as a family and Violet almost pulled the 20-foot Christmas tree into the first row of pews. On Sunday, Ivy did well for her baptism, but Violet turned into Bruce Lee as Erik made several unsuccessful attempts at holding her.

In lieu of these events  I cannot help but reflect on Violet’s baptism a mere year and a half ago:

I am fairly sure that the custom of baptizing is one of the most serious religious rituals in Christianity — it is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, God’s blessing of that little person or adult. So, it seems only natural that during the entire baptism, while standing in front of 200 church members and the pastor, I LAUGHED uncontrollably. I know what you’re thinking, but rest assured, there are plenty of other reasons why I could have a first class, one way ticket to h-e-double hockey sticks, so save your judgment for someone else.

I didn’t chuckle because I was not taking it seriously or I thought it was a joke. I laughed because of two things. The first is the obvious reason, I was kind of nervous to stand in front of my church family and my dress had loads of static cling that morning, prompting perpetual wedgie picking. The second and main reason I laughed during the most sacred moment of my infant daughter’s life is my husband’s fault (big shocker, I am sure).

The morning before the baptism I asked Erik if he was nervous to stand in front of the church. He said no and that he had seen several baptisms before and he knew how to answer all of the questions. Cool, I won’t have to worry then. So, there we stood, in front of the church as pastor proceeded with his first question to us, to which the proper response would have been “I do” or perhaps “we do.”

Erik, though, must have been trying to contemporize the experience by answering in his most confident banker voice, “Yeeepppp!”

Yep? Yep? He answered, yep?

 The pastor kind of looked at my husband, wide-eyed and eyebrows raised, a look that my husband clearly missed because he stood there, hands in pockets and swaying confidently, still not ready to offer up the correct response. The pastor then prompted the correct answer and Erik obliged. I don’t know why this was so funny to me, maybe because I am the same person that, while playing the angel Gabriel in a Christmas play in my youth, laughed through the delivery of my lines about baby Jesus and the manger.

It wasn’t entirely my fault. I had asked to be the donkey. Donkeys don’t have lines.

At any rate, I made it through the service and she was baptized just the same (even if there were tears running down my face from laughter) and I apologized for my actions afterward. Similarly, I made it through Ivy’s baptism without tossing my infant to the pastor and running to remove a Bible hurling toddler from the sanctuary.

However, maybe next time (if there ever is a next time) I will, along with diapers and wipes, pack my nunchuks and taser.

Oh, I’m kidding … or AM I?


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