Christenings and Motherhood

I went to a family christening at the weekend, I wasn’t looking forward to it. The Proper Girl is quite exact when it comes to style (she did do a fashion degree and she’s one of these girls who are just tidy, and neat and do pretty-pretty very easily). I’m not a big fan of babies either although it turns out my cousin (The Proper Girl’s son), let’s call him The Stylish Baby is quiet, smiley and hella cute when his grandfather (Bishop Nick) is dousing him with water.

Everyone was very pleasant, The Proper Girl looke so happy to have The Stylish Baby and be doing everything properly. The Jellicle Cat and I rather winced our way through the service, it was nice of her to invite us but ideologically I really disagree with baptisms that swear a baby’s allegiance to a particular god before the kid is old enough to make up his own mind. Of course, me and The Jellicle Cat, I realised, were taking every word of that service far more seriously than everyone else there (with the possible exception of Bishop Nick who seems to be pretty damned good when it comes to Christian Ceremonial Magic).

It was nice to be there and see everyone, and be stared at because having green hair is apparently a bit weird…who knew! It was nice to see The Proper Girl is quite so happy with the whole motherhood thing. I came to the conclusion that it’s not that I dislike my family but I do find them quite odd in their priorities and values. Which looking at the rest of human society is more about me than them. They’re pretty normal in their desire to have a quiet life, settle down, have babies, support football teams, wear pretty clothes…it’s not for me but I’ve reached a sanguine stage in life, if that’s what they want and it makes them happy (and it really does seem to) then good luck to them. Just don’t expect me to hold The Stylish Baby or any others anytime soon. I can’t help wondering if I’ve reached the stage in life where I’m relaxed about them or whether my relaxation is in reaction to theirs. There is so much other stuff going on with everyone that they no longer have the time or inclination to concern themselves with the cousin with green hair in the corner (me), who after all, shows no likelihood of changing after twenty or so years. I suppose families get used to each other after a while. It’s nice to show up and check on each other and as long as we don’t have to really live with each other 24/7 then it’s ok in a way it really wasn’t while I was growing up.

Dad was quiet, and he and Mum seemed quite interested in what was happening in my life (the edited version of course) without being overly focussed on the fact that I’m not some hugely successful career woman. What I did notice was that no one mentioned the idea that I should have a kid. I’d half prepared for comments and got none, part of me is relieved and part of me wonders whether people with green hair aren’t supposed to have kids…
In addition to confirming that I (and the rest of my family?) have grown up it did rather confirm to me that I don’t really want kids. I find it quite disturbing that as I approach my thirties the bodyclock that all women talk about really does exist, except that it doesn’t make we want children – I still have thoughts about how best to bring up kids and how I’d do it in a polyamorous household but my hormones just prompt me to want to get pregnant. The notion of childbirth is intriguing as a physical experience but the actual child that would result at the end of that holds no allure.

I have my suspicions that were I in a situation where children were at all practical the hormones might combine with my theories of childcare to result in some sort of practical experiment. Luckily for the prospective children this is not so. However, a long time ago BBM did speculate on my lack of maternal instinct. His theory was that all my nurturing went into my lovers (at the time I think I was at capacity – I’m polysaturated by lovers at around nine/ten) which I think is still true to some extent. I seem unable to put as much effort into my actual family as into my chosen family in Castle Lune.

By chosen family, I don’t just mean The Jellicle Cat, Weasel, The Jellicle’s Lover or even just my gaggle of former lovers, I mean that tangled diagram in whatever form it’s now in that Cuddles or Erfie used to draw. I suspect this means that next time the Girl With Golden Hair calls me Mummy I should just suck it up and keep on with the washing up.

4 thoughts on “Christenings and Motherhood

  1. Oh I know and CoE does too. But it’s the words used at the Christening which I hadn’t really realised were so possessive.

  2. Christenings now have taken on a more cultural significance than a religious one, to most people I think. It’s a chance to get dressed up, buy presents, pose for photos, eat fancy food and coo over the new arrival once Mum and Dad have had chance to recover from the birth/aftermath and are ready to host company en masse. It’s become a social ritual rather than a religous one.

    For some people it’s just what you ‘do’ when you have a baby. Just like getting married in church is regarded by some people as what you ‘do’ … believing in this God chap has nothing to do with it these days, right?

    It’s a little odd. I’ve been brewing a post for a while over the difference between social ritual and religious ritual in the CoE these days. I might get around to making it soon.

  3. I think you’re correct in the main regarding the fact that it’s viewed as a social ritual, but those words are still being said Erfie.

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