Monday, April 23, 2012

and also with you.

Mitch and I were asked to be godparents to a beautiful little girl named Penny.
We just attended her Christening, and we were honored to participate. I'm not really sure how it works in other churches, but in our church, they baptize the baby, the parents hand the baby off to the godparents, and then the godparents parade the baby up and down the aisle while strangers poke it and say things like, "the Lord be with you." Frankly, I enjoy it; it's a very formal way of acknowledging a new member of the community, and having godparents (hopefully) holds the community accountable for helping to raise that child.

Mitch and I discussed being godparents regularly before Penny's Christening. We had no idea what that meant (neither of us had them growing up), and we questioned our dear friends' judgment in choosing dirty hippies with a bad habit of collecting animals and half-dead houseplants. What makes us fit to be godparents? Then the realization occurred that we were going to be someone's ACTUAL PARENTS. Not just your-kid's-cute-but-it-just-pooed-so-here-take-it-back-parents, or I'll-send-you-a-$50-savings-bond-with-a-scripture-in-the-memo-on-your-birthday-parents. But like real ones.

Your kid broke his arm and even though it's bending the wrong way and you're gagging every time you see it, you have to not cry or puke and hold his (non-broken) hand in the ER while they set it. 

Your dog is a million years old, and you have to explain aging and death to your confused, crying second grader. And then tell her how you were lying about her hamster.

Your kid gets bullied at school for something you do or did or have or wear or say, and you have to somehow give her the tools to withstand it, build her back up, and consider not ever doing or having or wearing or saying whatever it was again.

Your kid gets a tick at summer camp, and even though you're gagging every time you see it, you have to dig it out (a lot of things about kids make me gag).

Your kid pukes big kid puke (Mitch), not baby puke, all over your carpet and drapes and Martha Stewart throw pillows (Mitch), and it's not like he was hung over (Mitch), so you can't make him clean it up himself (Mitch). 

I've read a million books about being pregnant and giving birth, but I have yet to read any about parenting. Truth be told, I have Bringing up Bebe on my Nook, but on the whole I consider them to be like management books. You can read a dozen books and attend a dozen workshops learning how other people manage, but they're not you, and they don't have your weaknesses and talents, and you will never be them unless you learn what those are first. Also, if they're anything like the pregnancy/birth books, in that every breath you take stands to be judged a cardinal sin, I think I'll pass them up. I'll just try everything out on Penny first (wink).

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