A baptism, in the traditional definition of the word, might be an important rite of passage within the Christian religion. Water is used to ¨wash away the original sin¨ and grant salvation, concepts of this sacrament that I'm not too in agreement with.
And please forgive me Mother Consuelo, Amparo and Luisa --who taught religion class when I was a young girl at the Colegio Nuestra Señora de La Merced-- but if I was asked to repeat again and again that I ¨believed¨ and I ¨accepted¨, they weren't things I actually thought about that much at all. I don't believe that baptism will save us from the original sin. And by the way, how long do we need to bear the consequences of the natural attraction that was felt by Adam and Eve? (If I had been Eve, I'd have eaten not one but the whole harvest of apples).
The thing is I believe that there is a God, but I also believe that we don't need of a ritual for him to forgive us anything. He loves us, period. With that said... Even though I'm not a believer on the religious significance of the christening, I do celebrate it as a family tradition.
In fact, both of my sons were baptized, and these days left great family memories that I will treasure forever. Their baptisms were meaningful because they were about welcoming each child into our life.
Gabriel was dressed in the typical christening gown also known as faldellín, but not just any faldellín. He wore the same one that I was put in for my own baptism, the one that was created by a group of nuns in a town called León, in Spain. Even before Gabriel was born, my faldellín was one of the ¨treasures¨ my mom brought with her. She had carefully saved this garment in blue tissue paper, as is commonly done in our countries to preserve the piece. My mom and tía Zaida were so proud that they too knew how totally worth it was to have brought the outfit all the way from Venezuela to New York. The faldellín became an expression of love, besides symbolically passing on all of the good wishes that were there for me when I was baptized to my firstborn son.
Unfortunately Samuel was too big of a baby to fit in the garment, but we did travel to Venezuela for his baptism to make it possible for more extended family to be there with us celebrating this special moment.
Choosing the godparents was no easy task. These had to be people we trusted could take our places if my husband and I were no longer around to care for the children ourselves. Thank God for both grandmas who I would definitely entrust with my kids any day. Having godparents for Gabriel and Samuel was a way of telling them: you are family and trust you implicitly.
So I might seem contradictory and all, not believing in the religious meaning of baptism, but completely invested in the emotional significance of the actual celebration. For me the baptism is an act of love. If I had to do it all over again, my son's would be baptized in my faldellín and would have the same godparents.