Last weekend I went to Florida for a baptism. I was asked to be a godmother of an old school friend’s second son.
I was surprised because it’s one of those friendships where we’ve only really seen each other three times since she moved to the states when she was sixteen, and now we are in our mid thirties. It has actually been a few years well since we even last saw each other on person (her wedding before she even had kids). She has sisters as well so it’s not that she was lacking options for choosing a godmother.
Given my past travel experiences / staying by someone which was a horrendous first experience and I swore never to stay by anyone again, this visit was definitely one that was huge for me. Not only was I agreeing to be the godmother to someone’s child but also I was going to be staying by them for the weekend.
I have to say aside from going Jamaica last year, which was a great experience and that friend made sure I was well taken care of, this experience was also one of the best I’ve ever had – not just in terms of travel but in general.
They were warm, welcoming, far more hospitable that I could ever have asked, and made sure that I got in lots of shopping time even though the weekend was so busy with family and the big event itself.
There were a couple of things that struck me this weekend.
1) The utmost patience shown and overall amazing job of parenting my friend and her husband engaged in. It was a culture shock of course because in West Indian culture you share lix waaaaaay faster than anybody else. So to be somewhere where that is not an option was weird. But they were so attentive and reasonable with their toddler, even though obviously faced with the extra stress of everything happening – even though I am not a fan of little children – I couldn’t help but feel moved by their love and care shown to their children.
2) I have never felt so at peace and stress free and anxiety free as I did in the moments after the baptism ceremony. The church was huge and the square footage of the land itself around the church was tantamount almost to its own continent – the place was huge- and there was a sitting area outside where you faced a statue of a pregnant Virgin Mary. Now I’m not religious per se, I suppose I am more spiritual but yes I am Catholic. But as I sat before the statue I felt such inner serenity I wished I could feel that forever though I knew it would be short lived.
3) Her family was so… intelligent. I know that sounds weird but what I mean is that there was avid, intellectual conversation. It was not the drinking and arguing and loud drama that family gatherings tend to be like where I am from. It was so refreshing to be around a loving family who also spoke about politics and the contrasts of living in a first world country versus knowing what it was like to live in a third world country and who could agree TO disagree about issues.
Now this is not to say I think they are perfect because no one is perfect and the duration of time was not a long one, however the experience was just… different.
Of course I told myself I was coming back with a new mind set and I was going to be different at work and not let things bother me and I was going to try to be more at peace at home. BUT that was short lived for all of probably all of the four hours I spent on the plane flying back and then the frustration of living this life caught up with me. Back to the total nonsense of work, the addict back to his usual shit and I still didn’t win the lottery.
I was proud however to see my friend doing so well making great strides as a wife, mother, new home owner and all round just getting this whole “adulting” process right. There are no words really to describe how touched I was that she chose me of all people to share the life experience of the baptism of her son.
Here are some pics from the visit…