Monday, May 12, 2014

Godparents: How and Why We Chose Our Son's

I grew up Mormon, so the idea of godparents was completely foreign to me. My husband grew up semi-Catholic (he was Catholic on Easter and Christmas Eve), so godparents were a given to him. I like the idea, though. Especially given that our son is and will always be an only child, his dad is an only child (so no aunts, uncles, or cousins on that side), and we live quite a distance from the majority of our family, I like the idea that he has a couple more people who are there to look after and love him.

I had no idea how to go about it, though. I mean, I'm not overwhelmed with friends. I prefer to keep that circle small and tight. I asked around as to how others chose godparents for their kids. Lots of people chose their brothers and/or sisters. I didn't want to do that. I figured, my son already had my brother as an uncle and my half-sisters as his aunts, so giving the title of "godparent" to them wouldn't really change anything for anyone. Nope, I wanted to go outside of that pool. I wanted people similar enough to us that we wouldn't be at odds all the time, that they'd feel comfortable coming to see our son whenever they wanted, but different enough that they'd be able to offer him things other than we could, so that his world would be a little broader. I looked for culture, morals, big hearts, and fun.

The man in her life.
Our friend Sydney was the one who fit the bill as godmother. She is well-traveled and adventurous. Our son can travel the world with her in a way he probably would not with us. He will hike the tallest mountains, snowboard snowy slopes, climb rocks and cliffs with her, whereas that's not necessarily my bag. She cares about human rights. Some of her causes are our causes - gay rights, women's rights, caring for those less fortunate. Some of her causes are different than ours. He'll learn more from the combination of us than he could ever learn from just his parents alone. She cares. She puts on a tough front and doesn't let her soft side show often, but it's there and it's definite. In this case, I think our son serves to teach her to soften herself, let her vulnerable side come out, allow her heart to show. He is certainly my greatest teacher and if he can do a little of that teaching with others, we're all the better for it. And Syd is fun. She gets out there and plays with him. She is always up for a game, a run through the fountain, a soccer game...anything! In addition, she was adopted. I felt this gave her a connection to our son that few others could have. She was so desperately wanted by her parents, that they actively sought her out. Given our infertility, we had to do the same to get our son. Those are two deeply loved people, deservedly so. So, we asked her, she accepted, and now is forever our son's Aunt Syd.

We don't yet have a picture of Josh and our son together, so Josh has been subjected to this throw-back Thursday-ish moment instead.  Neener-neener, Joshy.
My cousin Josh made the most sense to our brains and hearts as godfather. He has recently returned from an LDS mission in Nicaragua. That is a part of the world my husband and I know nothing about, so Josh can teach our son. As for adventures, count him in! That kid does things that would scare the bejeezus out of me, but his unwillingness to let fear or doubt rule him is a quality I wish him to pass on to our son. He is morally strong. In fairness, our morals are not always the same, but, again, we did not wish who we chose to be clones of us, rather to give our son a broader spectrum of examples. What is important to us is that Josh always does what he thinks is right. That, more than anything, was the crucial thing. Like Syd, Josh isn't one to let his deeper feelings show. We come from a family that is a smidge emotionally stunted. In this way, again, our son can be the teacher. There's nothing like loving, open, honest kid to turn one's heart inside out. And oh how Josh is fun. I'm 16 or so years older than Josh, so I have watched him grow from the littlest sprout into the man he is becoming. One of the consistent parts of his personality is that he's always up for a good time, always smiling, always amusing. With him, our son will ride mountain bikes, wrestle good-naturedly, explore the outdoors in ways that might be a little too intimidating for me. So, we asked him, he accepted, and now is forever our son's Ninong (Filipino - half of his heritage - for godfather).

We didn't want our son's godparents to be such in name only. We wanted to bring into his life more people who would be actively involved. Aunt Syd has been around our son since I was in labor with him. She has been here for most every one of his big events. She thinks of him when she is away and even carries a stuffed dog he gave her as a gift whenever she travels. Ninong has only recently returned from his mission, so has been away for two out of our son's 3 1/2 years. As he regains his footing back in the real world, I imagine and hope that he'll be around much the same. I can't give our son siblings. I can't give him more uncles, aunts, or cousins. I can, however, give him two more special people whose only job is to love him. Aunt Syd and Ninong are those people. Lucky them. Lucky him.

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