Toddling to the Christening


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

As we thought would be the case, Séimí was walking by the time his Christening came along. So instead of being carried around, he was able to walk up the aisle to be dunked!
Well, when I say walk up the aisle, not quite in a straight line as every pew brought something that had to be explored. He had waited 13 months to be Christened so he figured we could wait a few minutes while he explored the church.
Born in January 2021, there was no prospect of a Christening for the first few months with the full-blown lockdown we were living through.
We tentatively pencilled in dates in the summer but a variety of problems got in the way, and we figured we would leave it until the kids were back to school and holidays were not an issue.
So, in July, it was with great confidence that we pencilled in a Christening date – Saturday, September 11. Our priest, my grandfather’s cousin Fr Micheál Mac Gréil, was available and the hotel was booked.
My wise wife, Aisling, asked me was there any way it could clash with football – she knows from bitter experience. I, after all, had the temerity to miss my niece’s Christening service because of a game I was only a sub’ for.
My playing days long over, her concern was more directed at Mayo being in an All-Ireland Final.
No worries, says I. They won’t beat Dublin in the semi-final and, anyway, even if they do, the final is fixed for two full weeks before it.
So September 11 it was, and you probably know the rest … Mayo vanquish the Dubs and Tyrone get the final delayed by two weeks because of a Covid outbreak. Mayo are in the All-Ireland Final on September 11.
Now, given how it turned out, many of you might well remark we should just have ploughed on, but there was no decision to be made. Séimí might be at his own Christening, Aisling might, but they could well be looking around them after that.
A surge in Covid cases that winter put the Christening on the long finger again. We said we’d wait but as soon as the majority of restrictions were eased in January, we pencilled in a date. February 20.
Sure there was nothing else that could get in the way.
Except, of course, poor Séimí was sick and Storm Franklin howled in Achill. The thought crossed our mind of delaying it further, but there could be no more procrastination, or else he might be in school by the time we got around to it.
On we went, a great day was had by all and Séimí was finally Christened by the elder statesman of the family, the venerable Fr Micheál in the loveliest of services. Good things come to those who wait, indeed!

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.