I had participated in a baptism for my first son, but it fell short of the "blessing" I'd had in my mind. The second time I had a child I wanted to celebrate the miracle of life, to bless my baby with happiness, love, health, goodwill, community, and friendship. I wanted to tell the world how my heart was overflowing with love for my children, and I didn't know any traditional rituals that did all this. So I created a ritual (with the help of a witch) to celebrate Thomas' birth. I arranged an outdoor gathering of family, friends, and neighbors. As we stood in a circle, I read two poems, one for each child. I described the wonders of bringing a child into this world. My 16-year-old nephew then read an essay that he had written for the occasion, and a friend sang. Religion aside, I wanted to incorporate water. So family members passed a pitcher of water and spoke blessings silently or aloud. My baby was then anointed with the water. A friend led chants, and my husband and I walked around the circle presenting Thomas to the community.
I wanted to tell the world how my heart was overflowing with love for my children.
Next, we proceeded from our gathering spot to our family's house, to the sound of beating drums. Here each set of grandparents planted a grapevine, and the remaining water in the pitcher was poured on the roots. Then we danced and ate. Three years later, the vines are bearing fruit, and the memories are precious. The poems will be there to read to the children when they are old enough to appreciate them.
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