Letters to Holly

Thursday, January 27

Reverence and Honesty

As we sat down for reubens and sweet potato fries, Your Sister mentioned a few things about the sidekick's day: he seems to recognize a request to roll on his side, he understands what "cat" means, and she wants to get him christened.

Well, huh.

She said she went to the local Lutheran church to talk to their priest about it. She seemed happy with the conversation, and she was informing me this was what she wanted and wondered what I thought of it.

Throw your brilliant mind back five years. She wanted to get married at the Anglican church we attended then, and, by "we," I mean she was a member, and I was a semi-regular pew companion. I knew little to nothing about Anglicanism, and I was curious. I liked the priest's messages a lot. He had great delivery. It was with this priest that she asked about a wedding there, and he informed us that the church would have to approve my divorce. That rankled us both, and the warning of mandatory marriage counseling didn't help. I told her that we didn't need someone else to tell us how to work our relationship. We defined it through a prolonged courtship, creating plateaus for each of us and both of us, and moving forward as we conquered each mutually agreed milestone. We thought this through, probably to a fault, and we didn't need a third party shoehorning in to give us what-for, especially a third-party that was going to step on her feminist toes.

I told her that I would gladhand and amen my way through the whole process if she wanted, including the church wedding, but I would tell her what I would tell no one else: my fingers would be crossed the whole time. I'd lie to everyone involved except her. I wasn't going to start our marriage on a string of lies to her, and she needed to know where I stood as she decided to marry me.

She wilted at the idea of subjecting me to what appeared to be a prescribed shaming by the church hierarchy; the priest would pass my divorce deposition up the ladder, and they would decide if I was well and truly divorced. This would add to our delay to get married. This was before we found out we bought a house and decided to wed immediately before moving in. So the whole idea was dropped. No divorce testimony and approval process, no counseling to tell her to mind her place and fetch my slippers, and no wedding in the church.

The whole thing bothered her so much we stopped attending the church, and it's only been in the last year that she's tried out some local assemblies, starting with Anglican and moving to Lutheran. We've talked along the way about what kind, if any, of religious foundation we'll give him. While it's not my bag, I deferred to rearing him in the denomination she preferred on the condition that I will petition when they start telling him he's a worthless, horrid creature doomed to hell probably predestined to burn no matter how good he is. That's how I was raised, and I'm here to tell you it stinks on ice, and no one is talking like that to my boy while hiding behind a pulpit.

I had no idea she considered christening the deputy, but I'm not so surprised. I can't say I object upfront. I don't know what it entails, and that's what I told her. I have no reason to veto the idea, but my understanding of christenings comes from pop culture depictions, and they're usually Catholic. I suspect Lutherans invest different significance to it, probably with distinct obligations by the attendees. It's those presumed obligations that I said might be am obstacle. I need to know what, if anything, the priest will ask we swear to regarding his upbringing. I don't take a lot of oaths, and I take seriously those I do proclaim. I need a briefing on the matter. But again, I'll gladhand and amen through it if it's what she wants. I won't lie to her about it. I don't tell her this to burden her decision but to allow her to make as informed a choice as possible.

I don't rustle my leaves at the idea of dabbing him with water and hoping the best for him (Do Lutherans christen with holy water? See, I don't even know the basics here.). If the ceremony gives Your Sister a stronger sense of confidence in his kindness and well-being, I won't poo-poo it. But I will remind her that he won't have a clue what we're doing, and we still have to steer him toward civilization, with or without a midday spritzing and a benediction.

And with that we gobbled dinner. She has just returned from yoga and was starving.

After, we discussed Valentine's Day, and she reminded me I hadn't used her gift from last year: an hour massage at the spa we all visited before the wedding. I insisted she use it; she's got the twigged back from carrying around the boy. She said, if she did use it, she would worry I'd get her another gift, a "real" one that I would buy. I promised I wouldn't. I said I'd swear to it if I could find something I held sacred to swear upon. I had an idea, opened the pantry, and pulled out a bottle of wing sauce. I swore upon the condiment that I wouldn't buy her a second gift if she used the massage certificate. She said she'd think about it.

Can we christen with wing sauce? Can he be as delicious as he is adorable?

Picture of the Day
A peek at the making of the Star Wars Lifeday Special.

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