Well ,bloggs are meant to be immediate aren’t they ? So this is about a Christening ,yesterday .Our 6th grandchild ,Max Angelo Cicichino was baptised on Sunday and the after party was at our home .About 35 Thompson and Cicichino contingents arrived at the ceremony and then at the house .Surprisingly ,or unsurprisingly ,it was fun .More than that, the occasion was joyful .It felt very special to connect with a completely new family ,4 generations of Cicichinos.Thompsons only reached grandparents ,some key loved ones were not around ,all as my father said “fallen off the perch”:But my dad and mum and aunt were around I know .They would have loved a “shindig .”and my father would have sipped at various glasses of whisky during the afternoon ,made a speech and several toasts ,talked engagingly to everyone before falling foul of my mums watch and being halted in his tracks ,probably just before he sung “Three Old Ladies .My mum would have been besotted over baby Max ,advised Persephone ,talked a lot and even told a few stories alongside Gladys .Gladys of course would have been her outrageous ,grandstanding and funny self .All of them loved Persephone ,and their love surrounded us .
So this is about the christening ,but also about motherhood ,love and late understandings .Two full days preparation ,shopping for food and drinks ,then putting stuff away ,then cooking ,then cleaning and rearranging .Washed things that haven’t been washed for a year ,like tiles and bathroom floors ,glass doors and walls ,dust on ledges .The only thing i didn’t do was polish the brass candlesticks and the jugs and vases(only because dont have them )-this used to be my fathers job when they had people around to dinner ,Polish brass and silver ,including the knives and forks ,and the glasses .Mum would check .
But as I swept and mopped and dusted I thought of mum in her preparations for people ,and she had a three course meal beautifully cooked .As a teenager and then a young adult I would look at her and think what a waste of time ,who cares .Then eat the food .
The cleaning becomes a bit obsessional ,why is it important ? i dont think its just about people coming to the house and what they will think ,I suspect that its a part of a ritual .Like the Aboriginals have a house cleansing after some one dies in the house ,sweeping out the dirt and dust and burning leaves and herbs .Whitefellas sweep and mop and dust too ,in preparation for a significanct gathering.In this case a baby is being named in a spiritual way ,is being brought ritually into the Christian community ,and we all bear witness to the blessing ..Also being embraced by the families of both partners ,The two often diverse families come together ,and their connection is through this baby .Past and present symbolically united at this celebration ;all that we were and are ,all that our parents and siblings and aunts and uncles were and are ,and the potential for what we may become .Most importantly ,the framework ,with all its frailties and strengths ,patching up ,resistances and resiliences is right here .And this baby is gathered to all our hearts .