Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Baptism Traditions

It was a day rich with tradition of many generations, yet it was also a day of firsts, as we celebrated the baptism of our daughter, Charlotte, earlier this month.

The baptism of Charlotte Grace Herschelman
I sat in the church pew holding Charlotte, who was wearing the delicate white dress that was made for my baptism 37 years ago by my godmother, Helen Cox. Trimmed in beautiful, white lace, the dress was also worn by Charlotte's sister, Grace, when she was baptized five years ago. 

Pastor Mike baptized Charlotte
She didn't seem to mind too much
 Each of us also wore a darling pair of white lace shoes, purchased by my grandmother, Nancy Galer. I would have to say that at each of the three baptisms, the shoes spent more time in pockets and on the floor than they did on any of our feet. But they sure were cute!

Okay, well - she may have been a little unhappy.
Our family also has another special tradition for baptisms, the use of a honey dish, which is a small, decorative bowl.  Not only was it used for both Grace and Charlotte's baptisms, but at least four generations of baptisms on the Galer side, including me, my dad and my Grandma Nancy. Now, I just have to get it back to Aunt Anne before something happens to it at our house.

Charlotte and her two great-grandmas
Although I was much too young to remember my own baptism, I know it's extremely special for my mom, because it was her dad, the Rev. Charles Hutson, who baptized me at his church in St. Elmo in 1980.

Herschlman Familiy
Herschelman grandchildren
 He passed away when I was in junior high, but I know he would have been honored to baptize my girls if he was still here.  And I know he was smiling down on the day too, as one of his favorite songs, "Sweet, Sweet Spirit," was included in the service. That's a song that my mom and her sisters recorded in their youth, and has long-been a family favorite of the Hutsons. It was included in Grace's baptism as well as on our wedding day.

Galer Family
But the biggest tradition we shared as we sat in our church that day was family. Not everyone could be with us, as my brother and his wife live several states away. But we were so fortunate to have so much of Kyle's family there to celebrate with us that very special day.

I set out this year to write my column about the firsts we've experienced with a new little one, but I felt drawn to write about tradition this month. And the more I thought about all of our family traditions, the more I realized that all traditions have to have a first time at some point, even if they were "firsts" long before I was born.

Our sweet family photo
As I carefully dressed Charlotte in the 37-year-old lace dress that morning, I couldn't help but miss all my grandparents, who were there to share in the day I was baptized. But I also couldn't help but smile, knowing the traditions they started were part of our family's special day. And I hope someday, Charlotte will be just as honored to carry them on too.


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