Last Saturday was a big day for my family as we held a Welcome to the World party for Freddie. Not being religious and so not wanting to have a Christening, it’s long been a family tradition (from my side) to gather family and friends together to coo over the new (or not so new in Freddie’s case) baby, catch-up, eat cake and celebrate the fact that our family has grown bigger. As both my husband and I had been overwhelmed by the support we’d received since Freddie was born, we also really wanted to be able to thank everybody who had kept us going through those long sleepless nights, brought us food, helped us learn to parent (although, of course, we’re still growing in that area) and generally just kept us sane over the past almost 9 months. Freddie didn’t have the easiest start to life, and still has some underlying health problems, so this seemed just as important as the cake-eating part.
One of the things I really wanted to do was make a speech. As well as getting very emotional while trying to tell anecdotes about our baby boy, I also read a poem and talked about how much we had appreciated all the help everyone there had given us. I quoted the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”, said that everyone there was Freddie’s village and we hoped they would all continue to play a part in his life. Lastly, I introduced Freddie’s fairy/ungodly parents (as it wasn’t a Christening we couldn’t have ‘official’ Godparents, but this is something else me and my siblings have and my husband and I definitely wanted to continue the tradition), my best friend Lucie and her husband George. Although I completely embarrassed myself by not being able to stop crying at first, I’m really glad I got over my nerves and did it because it was wonderful looking out at all of our family and friends’ smiling faces and realising they all wanted the best for our son as much as we did.
We also had a ‘wishing tree’, where we asked all of our guests to write a piece of advice or wisdom for Freddie on a leaf-shaped piece of paper and hang it on a branch, for me to later stick in his baby book. As with wedding guest books, there were the usual silly comments, such as “Learn a good supply of cheese-based jokes” (a dig at my husband’s penchant for terrible jokes), but there were also some thoughtful and thought provoking messages, like “Time is more valuable than money” and “Plan for tomorrow, but live for today”.
There was an F-shaped cake, mounds of sandwiches and lots of laughter, and it was wonderful seeing friends from different parts of our lives reconnect after not having seen each other since our wedding. I’m so glad we took this opportunity to celebrate our little family and, more importantly, remember that although usually it’s just the three of us, our family is actually much bigger. There’s some January Joy for you.
As an aside, I also want to take this opportunity to thank some other people who couldn’t make it on Saturday, but have nonetheless played a huge role in Freddie’s life by simply keeping me going: my twitter friends. Huge sloppy baby kisses to you all, you know who you are. I don’t think my family would be as happy as we are now if it wasn’t for you. And now I’m getting all emotional again…