Victor was baptized this week. I think it was his first serious exposure to hypocrisy… he survived, but I think the rest of us are going to Hell.
Other than the Priest and the Holy Spirit, there wasn’t much in the way of representation of the Catholic Church, or even belief in a Holy Trinity, on that stage.
I think my brother came closest. His wife’s family is Filipino, and still holding onto the Catholic traditions from the homeland. They were married in the Catholic church used by her family, and he had to attend three or four months of classes beforehand. I think he still goes to church. He was the one who, during the baptism, kept telling me I shouldn’t be whispering about stuff.
I was told my attendance was mostly symbolic, that all I’d have to do is stand beside my girlfriend and hold Victor occasionally. Those are two things I enjoy doing, so when the Priest called all of us up to the stage I was concentrating on Victor and his recurring gas problem.
Imagine my surprise when I found out the people who told me my participation would be minimal knew nothing about baptisms, because the Priest started asking me questions. The first one was actually directed at my girlfriend, but she deflected it to me. It basically went “what are you asking Christ to do here?”. Only in the language of ‘…dost thou charge in Christ’s name’.
I think I looked at everyone in the building before my girlfriend tentatively answered “…baptism, for a baptism?”.
There was also a point when the Priest was asking a bunch of questions meant to judge how serious we all were about Jesus. They all required “yes” as an answer — I answered “sure” to at least two. Then he asked “…and do you reject Satan and all of his lies?”, and on cure everyone said “Yes”. Except me. I was looking at Victor, and playing with his cheek, and just kind of shrugged and nodded.
It took about four seconds of him staring at me — totally clueless about what was going on — and a nudge from my brother, before I finally said “…ah, yup”. The Priest pushed on from there. He was a nice guy, and really good at his job. I’m just not sure I totally approve of what we did, and I’m not sure why we did it.
It did, however, give everyone a chance to dress up. My girlfriend’s mother bought Victor a little white suit, with a silver bow-tie with sparkles. It even had a white vest, bonnet and little white booties. He looked like Disco Amish Guy.
He didn’t fill his diaper once, and he calmed right down once the Priest put the first sign of the cross on his little forehead. So maybe something worked.
Victor’s Godfather is my little brother, and his Godmother is my girlfriend’s older sister.
We had a great cake and sandwich get together at my parents home afterwards. Both families got along great, which is something I’ve been a little surprised with. My grandfather and my girlfriend’s father had a long talk about construction projects and unions — my girlfriend’s dad loves talking about Canadian history, and my grandfather helped build a lot of it.
Victor got passed around, and he tried talking with everyone, but he just doesn’t have the words yet. He has some of the sounds, though. I swear, I’ve heard him make noises that sound just like words… so, doesn’t that make them words?
Victor and I spent a couple of days together this week. My girlfriend was out working with her father again, it means some pretty physical labour — which she loves, but I’d prefer she was doing something a little less likely to crush her knee under 500lbs of frozen wood.
Thankfully her old boss confirmed she’ll be able to get regular work at the convenience store, starting in two weeks. So that means I’ll be looking after Victor three or four days a week, I’m not sure of the hours, but if it’s like it used to be it’ll be 10am-6pm.
So we’ll have even more time for music and movies. And maybe books. I’m thinking about having a regular reading session with Victor. I don’t speak enough when we’re alone together, this is something I started to think about a couple of weeks ago. When I do speak out loud to him, that’s when I realize we’ve been together for three hours and those are the first words I’ve spoken.
My girlfriend, on the other hand, talks to him constantly. Sometimes it’s ‘baby talk’, sometimes she talks about what she’s doing to him “I’m coming to tickle you” or “I’m changing your diaper now”. But other times it’s what she’s doing, like “I’m doing the laundry now, I’m putting the dirty clothes into the machine, yes I am, right into the machine”.
I’m not sure about which books, yet. I have a book of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales, or maybe ‘The Little Prince’, or ‘Watership Down’. Or I could go the other way, maybe ‘Serpico’ or ‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ by T.E Lawrence.
Despite all our time together this week, we didn’t watch a lot of movies. We saw bits and pieces of stuff on TV, and we listened to FM radio together for the first time. Mostly classic rock, but we managed to sneak in some current affairs stuff on public radio.
Victor did have his first experience with ‘The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones’ this week, including their classic albums ‘Let’s Face It’, ‘Live From the Middle East’ and their 1989 debut album, ‘Devils Night Out’. I did sing a couple of MMB songs to Victor… he does smile a lot when I’m being goofy.
We only watched one movie this week, but it was a very good one. It was an animated movie I found in the remainder bin last week — for $4 — called “Waltz With Bashir”. It’s an autobiography about an Israeli movie director realizing he has lost all memory of his time spent fighting during the 1982 Lebanon War — specifically of his role in a massacre of Palestinian refugees. So he starts interviewing people, and trying to put pieces together.
“Bashir” was the president-elect of Lebanon during the 1982 occupation by Israel and Syria. His assassination sparked massacres in two Palestinian refugee camps by the Christian Lebanese Forces militia group. Israeli soldiers allowed the militia to enter the camps, on some level knowing what was going to happen.
It’s an incredible movie, with probably the best movie poster quote I’ve come across, “Persepolis meets Full Metal Jacket…”. It also has one of the most powerful endings to a war movie — or a movie about war — that I’ve seen.
Victor was quiet through the whole thing, so I think he felt it as well.