Veeka’s baptism

Well, it was a lovely time. Veeka kept on saying all day, “I’m so happy! I’m so happy!” And she had every right to be. On the morning of Nov. 6, we had to be at the church at 9:30 a.m. to meet up with the photographer so I got her up early for breakfast and then to get dressed in a long flowing white dress and veil that I borrowed from a Catholic friend. (Those First Communion dresses come in handy!) So this first photo shows Veeka happily standing in front of her bedroom mirror in her dress – and new flowered hair band and white shoes that I dashed out and bought – the black shoes she had from Carley’s wedding just didn’t seem right.

The princess and her mirror

Then it was off to church with me balancing a baptism sheet cake I was providing for the parish coffee hour afterwards. The bakery folks at Giant had fun putting that together.

Of course a few things went wrong – some of them all at once. The clasp on the dirndl I was wearing (might as well get in some of that ethnic Duin background) broke and I was shrieking with dismay until a kind woman from the altar guild put me – and the apron – back together with straight pins. Then Veeka decided – during a photo session on the steps outside the church – that she didn’t like a flash. After she began to wail, we had to jettison that sitting. Then the spot where we hoped to take photos inside the church was blocked by the baptismal font that wasn’t supposed to be there until closer to 10 a.m. – one reason we got there earlier was to get to the steps before the font was moved. Well, it was an ancient font and we were told in no uncertain terms that no, it could NOT be moved again for some photos. Then the godparents were running late, which put our rehearsal late – but oh well, it all turned out as you can see from this recording of the service. Or you can click here and then click again where it says “baptism.”

What the parishioners got to eat

And yes, that tiny little voice giving the “I do”  and “I renounce them” responses is Olivia Veronika herself. After all was said and done, the rector walked her up and down the aisle to present her to the congregation. And to top it all off, Veeka got to have her First Communion that day as well. She definitely got into sipping the wine. It was All Saints Sunday, a traditional time for people to be baptized.

In a later post, I’ll run some of the fabulous photos the photographer has – those haven’t arrived yet but already I am so glad I paid for someone to shoot the occasion, leaving me free to enjoy it. By the way, the godparents were Jeff Kuhner, Grace Vuoto (who is married to Jeff) and Laurie Vuoto. They arrived with their 18-month-old son Ashton who they adopted less than a month ago. He actually behaved quite well during the whole service. My brother Rob and his new wife, Jan, were there, as was old friend Tim Forsyth. The photographer, Lauren Pond, is the shooter I worked with not only for the Papa Fest story but for the snakehandler story which I am glad to say came out in the Post this weekend! You can read it here. Notice I am now referred to as a ‘contributing writer.’ And do scroll through the gallery of Lauren’s photos.

I arranged for a small reception at the house afterwards – will say the table sure looked nice and yes, I decorated those cupcakes.

Baptism brunch chez nous

Various people brought food and I got the punchbowl out, some of Veeka’s teachers from St. Matthews came plus a few of her little friends. She, of course, didn’t want to take her dress off for the rest of the day. We really appreciated the gifts and money people brought or sent. During the baptism, Veeka wore the new gold cross necklace that Oma and Opa sent. Her godparents also gave her a lovely white gold necklace, so now we can toss some of the cheapo jewelry out that she’s been wearing up until now.  We were also blessed with sunny weather that Sunday which is why, in the middle of the reception at the house, Tim offered to help clean my gutters. (He’d noticed from an upstairs window what a mess they were). So, during the reception, he and I were hauling a ladder about the yard. Must have been quite a sight with me in the dirndl with that ladder. But him doing that kind deed saved me the $90 or so I was planning to pay a gutter company.

Playing with balloons

And so I’ll leave you with this image of Veeka pulling on the six balloons we had for the occasion. Must say, I am glad more than ever I did not baptize her as a young child. I don’t agree with infant baptism as I believe the rite is something where the person assents to belief in Christ on their own; not with someone else assenting for them. Dedicating babies is fine but baptism needs to be reserved until a person can say for themselves that they believe. Seeing Veeka take possession of her faith, as it were and – being that she was the only person baptized that Sunday – getting to be the real star of the show that day created in her a happy memory she will never forget.