Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Just over a week ago was the Christening of my beautiful niece, Harriet. Clare is one of Harriet's new Godmothers so it was nice to be more involved and she looked gorgeous and quite pregnant at the front of the church with the other proud parents and godparents. I am not a religious person but found myself trying not to be a hypocrite by going along with the service and meaning it....we did go to the church we got married in a few times before getting married for the same reason; I didn't think it was right to use the place as a nice backdrop for the photographs without considering why we were getting married there and not at an alternative location. Whether you have any faith at all, if you're going to use a church then you ought to respect the place for its role in some people's lives or risk being branded ignorant or a hypocrite. By me at least anyway.

As I say, I am not religious but a lot of people are and all for different reasons. Some had it drummed into them, some found it by accident, some sought it directly and some just feel something. I do have a problem with cultures who favour religion over education and in my, ashamedly unresearched opinion I think this tends to cause wars. I think if the people who throw stones at soldiers with guns had spent more time in class than facing East they may realise the absurdity of what they were doing and why. As I said, an unresearched, slightly flippant opinion!

Anyway the church of West which seems a little more realistic and integrated and gives a lot of people something they wouldn't have without it and whilst you can choose to disagree, I think anyone with a basic education ought to respect them.

So I sang the hymns with respect and didn't even glance towards my Dad as '...purple headed mountain' came up in All things bright and beautiful' as I knew he'd be smirking. I shut my eyes and said a prayer or two for CP and it was a great service and who knows whether Harriet will find something from being Christened or not but I think it's as good a starting point as any.

Harriet's incredible, just over 9 months and almost walking. She a quick developer which I'm told is relatively common in second babies. I guess baby number one only has giants for inspiration and so their firsts evolve naturally, whereas baby number two sees toddler number one and thinks 'I can do that' and so they do so quicker. Perhaps this is reason that brothers and sisters are so competitive and squabble a lot. It did make me think how fast CP is going to develop and how much the cleft(s) may affect him or her. I know he or she won't be Christened at 9 or 10 months as this will be the time of the pallet operation (assuming the pallet is cleft) and the baby will come home from the operation with arm clamps to stop them playing with their stitches so dunking him or her in the altar would be tricky!

It was nice to see all of the young families with their kids at various ages from 9 months to 7 or 8 years old. There are so many new children in our extended group of friends. We counted them a year or so ago and there's around 25 in total over the last few years. I remember as part of our conversation, Clare and I had worried that we would have problems with the pregnancy or a problem with our baby as all the others had come out fine and the stats were mounting against us. I'm sure all people planning a family think the same but it's particularly poignant when your prophecies come true.

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