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Dear Baby,

You were pretty mad when you were born, and crying, but you were surrounded by smiles and great sighs of relief.  Your father put you in my arms and we sat there together as your mother looked on, and you were such a furious bundle, lightweight and cold and not at all appreciative that I had brought you a tiny stuffed horse from the airport.

I called you “Taufling” while we were waiting for you, because to me you were never an “it,” nor were you a “he or she.”  It is a German word that means “child to be baptized.”  And the day you were no longer a Taufling, the day you really were baptized, I wore a lilac dress and held the lace bonnet your daddy was furious over and wondered at the fact that my sister, my beautiful big sister, had made a person.

You also peed on me.  That’s okay.  Pee happens.  That is why we have hair dryers, and washing machines.  So I toweled off and held your ankles still while your mother tied little white booties on your feet.  It was good practice for that afternoon at the baptismal font, when I would touch a towel to your little forehead, wet and shining and totally, totally new.  And that is what godmothers do:  We mop up, wipe down, look over.

I sat next to you on the way to the church, you in your carrying case, me in my seatbelt.  I have never been less disgusted by spit-up.  Every second had to be crystallized, held close; for I was in Florida and you are in Ohio and even moments of secretion were to be cherished.

But while I was concentrating on the things coming out of you, we were there to celebrate what was going into you:  grace, sanctity, a carwash for the soul that you weren’t responsible for needing.  God works that way, it seems; stuffs you full of what you think you don’t really need, then yanks the linoleum from beneath your feet and all of a sudden you realize…oh, this is where I was supposed to be all along.

These are the things I thought of on that car ride, from the home of your parents to the home of your God; that this is where you were supposed to be, all along.

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