Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Idealism and Regret

We anguished over whom to choose as Maya's godparents for a long time.  We hurt my mother's feelings by not choosing her or any other family members.  We chose a long time friend who had proven to love Catholicism and was happy to discuss her faith - something we wanted for Maya, someone to go to for faith questions as she grew up.  We also chose a new friend from church, a secular Franciscan.  He was super Catholic, involved in all the causes we cared about.  He was also ethnically Latino, and it was important for me that Maya have a non-White godparent.

And yet, soon after her baptism, I began to doubt and regret our decision.  I had consulted various people and researched how people choose their kids' godparents.  I didn't want it to be an honor.  I wanted someone who we felt was qualified to provide a strong faith foundation and to hold us accountable for raising our daughter Catholic.  And yet, the first thing to go was contact with the godfather.  Once we moved out of state, in spite of repeat attempts to contact him, send photos, remember him on father's day, getting a text back was a toss up.  He did manage to attend Maya's first birthday party, which was held near all of our old friends and relatives.  I thought there was hope yet.  But there's been no contact with him since.  He's assured us of his daily prayers for his goddaughter, and as a secular Franciscan, I believe him.  But I was hoping for their relationship to be more practical, more earthly than just spiritual remembrance.

Maya's godmother also turned out to have a different view of her role than we did.  Her goddaughter was not invited to her wedding.  Both Alex and I were in the wedding - I as a bridesmaid and Alex as an usher, but Maya just wasn't supposed to show up.  Only family kids, she said.  Two issues with that - one, I assumed being her goddaughter, she counted as family, but apparently not.  And two, she was only 8 months old, so wouldn't be running around or eating any of their food.  I was forced to pry myself away from my daughter for the first time and leave her with my sister-in-law in the hotel as I attended the wedding.  And now that Maya's godmother had a baby of her own, we were looking forward to being at said baby's baptism.  Only we just got word that it may be "family only".  

As for accountability - Alex and I must hold each other accountable.  Neither of the godparents were there when I left the church during my postpartum period.  One was too absent to even know I was suffering a crisis of faith, and the other - in spite of knowing - did not do or say anything to help ensure that her goddaughter was still being raised in the faith.

I am pissed at myself for trying to idealize what the godparent role is supposed to be.  I wanted better godparents than Alex and I had.  I wanted involved godparents, additional people who would be "like family".  I wanted to extend Maya's circle of love and influence, especially when it comes to faith.  But instead, I ended up building an awkward wall between me and my mother, and having dashed expectations with both of Maya's godparents.

My godparents were my maternal grandfather, on whose behalf my grandmother always bought gifts and remembered special occasions, and my mom's sister.  My grandfather/godfather happened to be visiting us in the US when I was confirmed, and so I chose him as my sponsor.  But it was a matter of convenience, since we didn't know other Catholics.  My aunt/godmother told me after my wedding that her job as godmother was now done.  As if she had done anything in regards to my faith formation.  She didn't even attend my wedding.

I wanted better for Maya.  But it looks like it was a pipe dream.  I meant well, yet sometimes the best of intentions do not make up for the rotten impact of a decision.

As we consider the possibility of adding another child to our family, my number one concern is having to choose godparents yet again!  I'm pretty much at a point where I will just leave the decision up to Alex and hope for the best.  No matter what I decide, I no longer believe that I can ensure that my kids have certain relationships with certain people.  I suppose we can call it a lesson learned and move on.  I suppose that's the only thing we can do.  Dwelling on regret isn't going to change what is. 

What's important is that Maya was baptized and is being raised in Christ's one, holy, and apostolic catholic church, something that always was and always will be the sole right and responsibility of her parents.

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