So, anyone who knows me (or BB) knows that we’re not exactly religious people. Growing up, our experiences with religion & church were on the “indifferent to bad” end of the spectrum, and as we got older we both (individually) moved away from organized religion and into the sort of amorphous spiritualism that older generations are sure is going to cause our generation to destroy the world (I was raised Catholic and currently identify as agnostic. You’d have to talk to BB about his personal beliefs, but aside from the raised Catholic part I think we’re pretty similar).
Anyway, most of the rest of my family did NOT move away from the church, and still consider themselves religious, actual church attendance nonwithstanding. So when it was announced that we had no particular plans to baptize Thing 1 & Thing 2, it was a bit of a scandal, seeing as how we were damning our children to hell and all. So, we decided to do it. You know, just in case I’m wrong. It’s happened before. And something interesting happened.
I really, really liked the church. We went to the Episcopal church that my aunt and uncle have been going to lately (apparently there are other options to not liking Catholicism than giving up on religion whole hog. Who knew?). The deacon was super friendly and nice and made ZERO snide comments about my children being bastards. The baptism was done during Saturday evening mass, so there were a few general parishioners there, and everyone was very friendly and welcoming and generally made us feel at home in every way possible.
So I decided to go back. For mass. With my children. Because even though I don’t really believe in the Bible as a literal storyline of Things That Definitely Happened (because, you know, history and science and stuff), I do remember enjoying CCD and VBS and stuff as a kid. And the general feeling of being part of a community, that’s always nice. And I’m always looking for more communities – I like to have as many people around me as possible, so that when I need things I can spread them out thinly and no one person (or group) thinks I’m exceptionally needy.
So my mom and I packed the kids up in the car and went. And…it was nice. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. We got name tags. Everyone oohed and ahhed over the girls and how adorable they are. Nobody gave us nasty looks when they made noise, whether that noise was fussing or just yelling along when everyone else was singing hymns. And when Rosy started fussing, I took her out of the sanctuary, downstairs to the nursery, where there were about a half dozen school-aged kids playing under the care of three or four mothers. The kids were all excited to see a baby, and the mothers were all welcoming and understanding, and Rosy wasn’t at all fussy or upset at all the new people, she was just curious and interested. And after about a half an hour we were able to go back upstairs just in time for Communion (which I don’t take because Confession and whatever) and it was nice.
I don’t think I’ll ever become one of those mothers who insists on getting up EVERY. SINGLE. SUNDAY. for Mass no matter what else is going on (snow? beach day with grandparents? up late last night?) but it is nice to think that we have a church home and a community of people who will get to watch my kids grow up. And also that my kids will have an understanding of at least one religion when they get to college and have that “all religion is stupid! Atheism is the path to peace!” phase that so many kids go through.