My daughter announced a few days ago that she wanted to be christened.
She did this rather pointedly, in front of my churchgoing mum and dad. I would have struggled to get her to change the subject had it not been so close to tea-time. A quick: “What would you like in your sandwich, darling?” did the trick.
You see, I don’t really want to get her christened. Because I don’t believe in all that ‘magic being’ stuff, the idea of it makes me squirm.
We do do God in this house a bit. We talk about people going to heaven, even though I think it’s ridiculous, and my girl goes bananas for the story of the Nativity, but she’s a child. She likes God and baby Jesus, in the same way she likes Father Christmas, and I’m not mean enough to break the spell for her.
This makes me a hypocrite, of course. I fully admit this. I got married in church, not because I needed to declare my love for my husband in front of an imaginary omnipotent entity in the sky, but because I knew it would mean a lot to my mum. I said so in my speech at the reception, in fact, telling the guests I’d agreed to get married in church as long as Mum agreed to cook me Sunday dinner every week until she dies. (16 years on, that deal is still a stroke of genius on my part, I can tell you, although I have a feeling that after this blog entry I might have to dust off my roasting dish).
I have also stood up in church on more than one occasion, when taking on godparenting duties for family members and friends, and renounced the Devil. I squared this with myself by looking up the dictionary definition of ‘renounce’ and decided I could live with 'giving up or refusing to obey or recognise' a red, horny man with hooves.
But my daughter’s interest in being christened got me thinking. Should I do it for her? If it’s something she really wants, should I swallow my pride and logic and get happy clappy for her sake?
My answer came today, when my daughter came back from a school visit to a gurdwara in a nearby town. Still buzzing with excitement after her look around the Sikh temple, my daughter explained that her religious plans had changed.
“I’m changing over, Mum. I don’t want to be christened. I’m going to be a Sikh. I want to be baptised in a gurdwara. I wrote it in my thankyou letter.”
I managed to maintain a straight face.
“So what made you change your mind? Why?”
She looked at me and beamed.
“Because I love curry.”
Video is Elvis Costello - Beyond Belief