October 25, 2014

And then they were blessed...

On Sunday October 19th we had the wonderful experience of having our girls blessed by Reverend Sue who married us a year ago. I'm going to say outright that If it had been up to me this would not have happened but it was a special request by the girls' great grandmother and I decided that as long as we could do it on my terms I was happy to have them "blessed". Unlike a lot of people (namely our relatives and friends who practice Catholicism) CJ and I do not subscribe to the belief that unbaptized babies go to purgatory. In fact we don't really have any religious beliefs at all, having both been raised Catholic and choosing in our adult lives to not only stop going to church but to avoid organized religion as a whole.

Our families know this but his grandmother damn near cried when I told her I was not planning on having the girls baptized. I know it's a personal choice and it should belong to the parents alone but when it came down to it I decided that if there was a way we could do it without them becoming communicants of the church, then so be it. I turned to google, of course and found the perfect option. A secular baby blessing with hints of God. We started to plan and realized that it was also a great excuse for a party and would allow all of our extended families to meet or see the girls without too much disruption on our end.

I contacted the amazing Reverend Sue who performed our non-religious wedding ceremony last June. She is an incredible interfaith minister who brought my dreams to fruition when I was trying to avoid a wedding ceremony that was more about God than us. It's not that we don't believe in God (at least not for me) but we just don't agree with a lot of what the church stands for and would rather have had our marriage start with a focus on our love rather than on God and the church. I explained to Reverend Sue that it had been requested we have the girls "baptized" but, like our wedding, we did not want to go the traditional church route. I explained we had decided to have a baby blessing/welcome to the world/meet the family party. I told her there should be references to God to satisfy our grandmothers' desires to save their souls but I did not want the girls baptized catholic, as much for our personal reasons but also because I can't stand the hypocrites that baptize their child into a parish and then never again attend church, which we would be. I think it's disrespectful to the church and its parishoners. Reverend Sue knew exactly what I was looking for and she created a ceremony that was the perfect mix of celebrating spirituality, love and family

It was a beautiful, inspirational and thoughtful ceremony. Our grandmothers fears were calmed and yet we appreciated that the focus was on love and family rather than God. Reverend Sue is incredibly spiritual, beautiful and intuitive. She focused on the idea that God is love. Family and friends were able to share their wishes for the girls and our family.

The girls wore beautiful dresses that CJ's grandmother bought for them. Our own godmothers (because of course we were both baptized Catholic) presented the girls with B and C letter blocks in honor of our family names. Their big cousin Jillian presented them each with a flower. Instead of traditional godparents (who are supposed to help you become a good catholic) we chose "spiritual guardians" (vs. legal guardians) to help the girls with any thing they need in life. Our friends, Elizabeth and Sam were sworn in as Vivienne's and my sister Katelyn and Justin became Juliette's:

"Will you accept a life-long interest in Juliette and Vivienne's well-being and growth, providing strength and support, especially at those turning points in life? Will you strive to be wise guides and offer your best as a guardian?"

I know our grandmothers were very happy with the ceremony and we really felt like it was perfect. The first draft of the actual blessing had a little too much god in it for me, especially the words for the anointing ceremony. I had looked in to alternate anointment ideas but decided that the water was the best way to make sure everyone understood what it was. Reverend Sue heard my desire to focus on love and her second draft of the anointment ceremony was perfect:

"Juliette and Vivienne, may you be blessed with True Sight – may you see yourself and others with eyes of Love.   
May you be blessed with Wisdom - speaking words with kindness and care,
being a source of inspiration for others.
May you be blessed with the gift of Love – receiving and giving love freely, joyously, and completely.
May you be blessed to offer Sacred Service –finding purpose and meaning by reaching out to those in need.
May you be blessed with the gift of Peace – walking in the ways of confidence, contentment, purpose, and grace.

Vivienne and Juliette, know that your Spirit is strong and that you have everything you need to live a blessed life. Know that you have family and friends here and beyond to watch over you and that you are never alone. Know that you are deeply loved and that your being in the world is a source of joy for us. We trust that your lives will be a radiant expression of all of the love we feel for you and of all the eternal love that is even greater than we can conceive that forever surrounds you, guides you, protects and lives within you. Amen."

The girls were absolute angels the entire time. Viv started to fuss toward the end of the ceremony and CJ got to show off his kick-ass Dad skills by offering a single shhhh that put her right back out. They were passed around the group and happily offered smiles and coos bringing shear joy to everyone. My mom worked so hard to make it perfect, from the centerpieces (pumpkins and leaves) to the food (catered) and cake. We ate and talked and everyone got their fill of our baby girls while Dad and I got a much needed break from holding and feeding! Reverend Sue is starting a new chapter in her life and moving to Rockport, MA next month so we were so glad we were able to have her, bum knee and all. We are already planning a trip for possibly next summer to visit them with the girls.

How did you have your babies blessed/welcomed/introduced to the world and their friends and family?


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