We arrive well in advance and spent half an hour next to the church: group photos being taken in every possible combination, family members chatting and catching up.
Jodie is the star of the afternoon. She tolerates attention but grants almost everyone with a skeptic look: her brows drawn together, her tiny hand waving “bye”. Of course, she is 10 months old, and in her age the “stranger-danger” alarm functions without failure. And obviously, pandemic isolation didn’t help to build the bridges between her and her relatives.
But it’s ok. It is a part of life. Today the family is present for Jodie’s baptism ceremony, and everybody is healthy, happy and beautiful. This is all that matters.
During the reception, when the priest approaches Jodie to make the sign of the cross on her head, she confidently raises her little arm and pushes him away. Benevolently, he finishes making the sign and talks back to her, with enthusiastic reassurance and laughter. People are smiling.