Monday, October 22, 2012

Godparents.


I'm not godly. I'm not a parent either, but oddly enough, I would consider myself parental. I'm organized and regimented, I'm a firm believer in academia, I used to be a nanny, and the way I treat my dogs? Well, they might as well be kids (human ones).
 
I was recently asked to be a godmother (again!), and I'm actually pretty honored. "My godmother is cooler than yours!" is an expression I can not wait to hear, because 1- I don't have any kids of my own who will brag about me (yet...but clearly they will), and 2- I'm not gonna lie, I'm a pretty awesome gift-giver.

Upon my (not so humble) brag to my good friend Lynden this morning, I realized the weight of the word "godmother" the more I used it. She is a mom of 3, so the reality of what we were talking really came to light. She asked me a bunch of questions about the godmother I'll be: "Will you have a church ceremony, or is it only a spoken title? Will you be one of those people who would want to step in and take the child, should something happen to the parents? What if there is more than one child? What is your involvement with your first goddaughter, since you're kind of on the outs with her father?"

Um...now I just wanted to be the godparent that starts drinking before noon.

There was so much to think about, and I got pretty overwhelmed. The first, basic question I had to answer for myself was this:

What the hell is a godparent?

So I did a little research. According to trusty Wikipedia, a godparent originated as someone (or a handful of people, in the Middle Ages!) who sponsored your baptism, so it does carry religious undertones. In the Catholic Church, you need to be of specific age, enforce a religious upbringing, and of course, be Catholic yourself (or be in company of a Catholic sponsor, natch). Some Chinese communities match a child with a relative or family friend, commonly done to strengthen ties or to "fulfill the wish of a childless adult to have a 'son/daughter (which I found kind of interesting).'" Orthodox institutions of "godparenthood" can sometimes even hold the godfather responsible for naming the child!

But like any institution, modernization steps right in; godparenthood has become (at least what I have gathered) less about the church and more about friendship. That said-and this will be weird coming from me, the non-godly one- is the role of a godparent being diminished along with the church?

Being a godparent seems to be a lot of talk today-just look at my boasting, above. Lynden confirmed that she "never ever" sees her godparents, and thus didn't select any for her boys. Personally, I never hear from my godmother, and am in touch occasionally with my godfather-uncle; he is my only other family member residing in Los Angeles.

But I'll do things differently.

Maybe it's just the passion in me talking (I'm a Scorpio, I can't help it), but I really really want to be a good godmother. I think it's pretty simple, actually. As a relationship of choice, I'll apply the same rule to my godchild as I do already with friends and family: just be there. I'm up for the spoken title, the church ceremony, guardianship (god forbid), the ongoing relationship- all of it.

And maybe the drinking before noon.


New York Times article: "The Godparent Trap"

HIMYM quote: “As the only one here packing a vag, I’ve got a natural instinct for nurturing and crap like that!”

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