I went to see the move The King's Speech this weekend with my daughter. During the drive home she said something along the lines of “Dad, I need to talk to you”. For all you parents of teenagers out there and if you’re anything like me that sentence alone is enough to set the alarm bells ringing.
Me, being the eternal pessimist, already had visions of pregnancy or school related problems or something else sinister in nature bouncing around in my already addled brain. Imagine my surprise when she then asked me “What are you doing on Easter Sunday?”
I haven’t been a practicing Catholic since I can remember. The term “lapsed” doesn’t come close to accurately describe
my feelings towards the church and while I consider myself somewhat spiritual in nature I’m certainly not what you would call religious.
I related that outside of baking a ham I hadn’t even thought about it. She then dropped the bombshell.
”Good, because I’m going to be baptized on Easter and I wanted you to be there”.
Back when I was a kid children seem to be baptized when they were fresh out of the womb. If memory serves I think this was the parents and the Catholic churches way of saying that if anything terrible should befall their little one they would have their ticket to heaven already punched and wouldn’t have to endure the pangs of hell. I’m not gonna get into the whole debate about a “loving God” or anything along those lines. To each his own.
I chewed on her decision for a bit and that’s when it finally dawned on me. She’s sixteen going on seventeen and what makes it important is that it was her decision to make and while I’m sure she’s been influenced by her upbringing in private schools nobody was putting a gun to her head.
Just out of curiosity I asked her why she felt the need to take this step and she replied that she thought it might bring her some “Inner peace”. To me, that’s as good as any reason you might have.
It’s been so long since I’ve attended a baptism that I forgot about such things as Godmothers and Godfathers and what role they might play and if they even apply to someone who’s on the cusp of adulthood. I’ve forgotten what questions are asked and what is expected of the parents.
Once again, I’m left asking myself more questions than I have answers to.
One thing I am sure about is that she’s going to probably be the only one her age to be on stage that day. She’ll most likely be surrounded by a bunch of infants in swaddling clothes who won’t even know what's being done to them but that’s okay. Like I mentioned earlier this was her choice and I don’t think it was made overnight. I’m guessing she put a lot of thought behind this and the decision was hers and hers alone to make. I think that’s a pretty good thing.
I just hope she doesn’t go all papal on me now.
Somewhere in the back of my brain I think I remember the last words of the Catholic Mass. I think they went something along the lines of “Go in peace”.
By the way, the movie The King's Speech was her choice. There wasn't one car chase, one bullet fired or one sex scene in it. Strange pick for a sixteen year old kid. It comes highly recommended.