Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eli Got Religion

From the moment Elijah woke us up last Sunday, Di and I shouted, “Yay! You’re getting God today!” I’ll admit, at the beginning there was a touch of post hipster ironic detachment in our shouts. Because it just ain’t cool to get religion these days.

But as the day wore on and we got closer and closer to Eli’s Christening, our tune changed. We realized that maybe this was something we shouldn’t joke about. That this is something we’ll look back on as a major event in his life. So when we said, “Yay! You’re getting God today,” it was in a whisper.

We arrived at the church with our families and friends in tow. After several hundred photos, the priest asked us to settle down. It may have been the stained glass or the microphoned priest, but Elijah was surprisingly subdued during the first half of the service. First half.

After some prayers and some oil and some signs of the cross, the priest asked us to walk back to the, um, bath. For the main event. As the priest prayed, Eli must have realized what was next because he shed his shirt and refused to put it back on. That, plus the fact that he doesn’t currently wear shoes turned him into Li’l Abner.

The priest motioned us to the “dippin’ position.” He must have known that a full submersion was a recipe for disaster, because he pulled an audible and went for the baptism water on the head rather than the dunk.

But we still had to hold Eli over the bath. Which was Di’s duty. As she dipped him towards the water, Eli grabbed onto the front of her dress for balance. And yanked down. Which revealed a lot more of my wife than I’d prefer the congregation of St. Nicks to see. The priest was understandably off his game, but regained his composure as Di handed off the boy to me and put her goodies back where they belonged.

Eli shrieked when the holy water hit him. And then we dried him off and dressed him in a lovely white Spanish Suit. We all headed back to our house for hamburgers and beer. Which seemed like a perfect end to the day. That, and digging up dirt in my backyard.

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