This weekend I have a baptism to attend. Pay attention to the family tree here:
The baby belongs to my cousin, who isn't really my cousin, per se
, but my mom's cousin's kid. When my mother was a child, her aunt died. My grandmother overheard someone at the funeral say, "Who's gonna take the orphans?" (My great-aunt had three daughters.) My gram didn't think twice; she said, "They are not orphans. I'm taking them." My grandmother was a widow and making her own living, and she was quite clearly someone with her priorities on straight. (It's been ten years since she died. God, I miss her. ) So, all my mom's cousins, I've always called aunts, even though they didn't live with my mom and gramma for that long, that's just the way we do it.
I have three aunts on this side of the family. The youngest aunt I'll call Tante Bee. The next aunt, the one I am probably closest to, I'll call Tante Italiano since she married an Italian man. Tante Italiano has one daughter, Cousine Italiano, and I was in her wedding this past spring. She married a very nice Chaldean man with a large Chaldean family. The wedding was a total blast with a great Arab band and tons of dancing. Very traditional. Cousine Italiano happened to be pregnant when she got married-- not a problem for most of us, after all, she was thirty-three. It happens, eh?
There was one aunt not happy with this wedding, and she created a lot of havoc for ma pauvre cousine. Enter Tante Folie-- a born-again fundamentalist Christian. Tante Folie did not attend the wedding. Why not? She didn't want to support a wedding that took place in the Catholic Church. This was worse than Cousine Italiano being pregnant before being married.
This weekend is the baptism for Cousine Italiano's bambino. My brother is the god-father and I am missing all sorts of exciting weekend activities to attend the baptism. Partner will be out of town, alas but still I was cheered by thoughts of a nice family weekend with Tante Italiano, Bambino, Cousine Italiano (et al) with no fear of Tante Folie being present. I mean, if she wouldn't attend a wedding in the RC church, she certainly wasn't going to come to the baptism, right??
Wrong! She'll be there. My mom called to tell me. And I am nervous. It goes without saying that she didn't come to my ceremony. In fact, she told my mother that I shouldn't even send an invitation. So I didn't, but I did write her a very nice letter telling her that of course she was welcome to attend if she changed her mind. Tante Folie also told my mother that I shouldn't send invitations to her (adult) daughters. That particular piece of direction I ignored. One daughter sent me back a very nice RSVP, and the other, well, I could swear I saw spit marks on the reply card. Probably both of them will be there this weekend too.
My head has been hurting all day thinking of this. I have no doubt in my own consciousness as a Christian. (Which is a different blog entry that is overdue.) I don't want a scene with Tante Folie at Bambino's baptism. Tante Folie, as her name implies, might not be similarly inclined. I have found myself trying to memorize Bible verses for ammo, which is totally totally totally
the wrong way to approach the Bible. (Live as God's servants, respect everyone, and show special love for God's people. 1 Peter 2:16-17) Arg! Stop me! Stop me!!! This totally goes against how I live my faith-- to think of the Bible in this way. It's not right. And at the same time I know this is the language that Tante Folie speaks, and I want to be able to speak it back to her. Fluently.
This blog entry is all over the place-- if you could follow the family names here and get the gist of what I was saying, I should give you a prize. Suffice to say, I am more than unusually stressed about the event. Also, suffice to say, I am more than unusually pleased that at the party following the baptism, there will be a cash bar.
I plan on making a large cash withdrawal from the ATM that morning.