Kevin was raised…

Kevin was raised Episcopalian; I was raised Catholic. I think at this point we'd both characterize ourselves as agnostics, but our parents are religious. So when they asked if we'd be willing to christen Kavi, we said yes. I admit, I was a little uneasy about it, especially when the very nice priest asked if I believed in Jesus Christ. I generally try not to lie, and I especially don't like the idea of lying to a priest. Even if I'm qualifying my response in the privacy of my head that what I actually believe is that Jesus Christ was probably a real historical figure, and a very good man who said some wise things, I don't really think that's what the priest was asking me.

I was touched, I admit, that Kavya was christened in a lovely cotton gown (and slip, and booties) handed down over four generations in Kevin's family. He was christened in the gown, as was his mother. It's lovely that Kavi was able to share that history.

In this last photo, Kavya's trying to eat the priest's finger. :-)

After the ceremony, which was just family, we went back to my parents' house and had a big party, which was pretty huge and overwhelming for all three of us (Kavi and Kevin took a long nap in the middle), but also much fun, especially seeing some very old and beloved friends from the Sri Lankan community, some of whom I haven't seen in fifteen years.

That's one of the best things about ceremony and ritual -- the way it brings people together. I doubt that Kevin and I will be taking Kavya to church every Sunday, the way my parents did; it would just feel too hypocritical. But I'm a little sad that we won't have that kind of weekly ritual in our lives -- the singing together, the taking each others' hands and wishing each other peace. I wish I knew a good secular equivalent.

3 thoughts on “Kevin was raised…”

  1. Kavya, just ’cause you can eat the body and blood of Christ doesn’t mean you can eat the body and blood of the priest.

    (…Which, btw, led me to the Wikipedia article on Transubstantiation, which contains all sorts of fascinating info I didn’t know.)

  2. You might think about creating your own ritual centered around a meal. Eating is often a significant part of religons for a reason – I think it is a very primal and central affair. And since you love to cook and share your food with others, it seems like an area ripe with possibilities for additional meaning and ritual. Once a week you could designate a specific meal (like the traditioan Sunday night family dinner but one that would work for your family) Open with a non religous version of grace, one that focuses on hand holding and wishing each other peace. Add whtever rituals and traditions develop that give you that feeling of connection that you miss from not having a weekly religous base. You could each say something that you love about each other, you could take turns cooking the meal for each other (Obviously Kavi would have to wait a bit for that one) Make toasts to each other about what you wish for each other the upcoming week …stuff like that. Just an idea.

  3. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Hmm…I don’t think I could get Kevin to do that, the saying things we love about each other. But you never know what fatherhood will bring out in him — he claims that he actually sings to the baby on occasion, when he’s desperate. Not where I can hear him, of course…

    I was really thinking more about the wider community than just the three of us, actually. With us both being academics and working from home a lot, I suspect we’ll be spending a ton of time together as a family.

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