I was lucky enough to be asked to conduct Sylvie’s Naming Day. Dan and Kate have been friends of mine for quite some time and I conducted their wedding along with a number of weddings for other members of their family. Since then I have been named the family celebrant! I was privileged to be able to conduct Sylvie’s sister Astrid’s Naming Day when she turned 1 and so it was such a special thing for me to be able to conduct Sylvie’s Naming day too, also timed to Celebrate her 1st birthday!
Dan and Kate thought about the name Sylvie when Kate was pregnant with Astrid. Kate tried to convince Dan that Sylvie was a great name, but Dan wasn’t keen on Sylvia, which Kate insisted would be the ‘proper name’ so it never happened. Throughout Kate’s pregnancy with Sylvie, Kate and Dan worked through many name options and although Sylvie arrived so late they still hadn’t decided on her name. After she was born they played with three names and in the evening finally settled on Sylvie, Kate compromising and ditching the ‘a’ in Sylvia. Sylvie, from Sylvia, is a french name meaning from the forest. (See the gorgeous forest themed cake at the end of this post)
Sylvie has made Dan and Kate more relaxed, patient and understanding parents. Sylvie gets far more cuddles to sleep and co-sleeping as they are well aware of how fleeting these days are. Dan and Kate can now understand completely why the youngest child is always the baby to their parents. Sylvie’s favourite person has always been Astrid. From birth she has kept her eye on Astrid, eager to learn how to do all the things Astrid does, playing, walking and now dancing too! Sylvie has always loved to move and was on the go early. She even started walking while holding onto Astrid even though her sister was trying to escape!
Her big loves this first year have included looking at her favourite family photos, climbing, “reading”, playing in her sister’s kitchen, baby doll Cailin, getting messy outdoors and just being all over Astrid. She loves to make kissing noises, waving at anything that moves and is a big koala style snuggler. She loves Ryan Adams and starts “dancing” as soon as she spots the cover artwork.
Dan and Kate chose their very close friend Miranda to be Sylvie’s mentor. Miranda has been friends with Kate for almost a decade and they have travelled together. She was the witness at their wedding and has always supported both Kate and Dan on their parenting journey.
Dan and Kate had a passage chosen to be read during the ceremony for both girls. A lovely Mark Twain quote, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
It was a beautiful day and a great time to catch up with lovely friends, and the the extended family of these wonderful people that I am lucky enough to see at these special occasions.
Astrid’s naming day was held in January. The weather forecast suggested that it would rain all weekend so Kate and Dan decided early to change the venue of the naming day and have it at home. Luckily everyone managed to fit into their house and all had a lovely afternoon. I have known Dan for a number of years, and Kate a little less. I was so very lucky to conduct their wedding. (read all about it here) So as you can imagine, Astrid’s naming day was really special for me too.
The name Astrid means divine strength or divine beauty. Once Kate’s family knew they had chosen a European name, this was the first one that came to mind for them. However this wasn’t the name Kate and Dan called Astrid in the womb. In fact it wasn’t until the final days of her pregnancy that Kate convinced Dan to switch. The rather delicate name that they had chosen we now know would never have suited such a strong, cheeky young lady like Astrid.
Dan and Kate had always enjoyed talking about baby names and even before Astrid came along they joked about naming their first girl Ginger Rose after a horse at the Hanging Rock races which they attended early in their relationship. Shortly after Astrid arrived with her lovely red newborn hair Kate and Dan said there was definitely a “thank goodness we didn’t call her Ginger” moment.
It was a great opportunity for Kate and Dan to appoint Astrid’s Guardians and to publicly thank all of their family and friends for all of the support that they had given them over the first year of Astrid’s life. They have had some really tough times, and they were able to share a little bit about these in the ceremony and make sure that they told the important people in their lives how much they appreciated all that they had done for them during those times. It made for a really beautiful, honest and very personal ceremony.
It was wonderful to be able to catch up again with Kate and Dan’s lovely family. Luckily for me, I have a few events locked in with some other members of their family! Stay tuned for some blog posts about those too.
What is the role of a godparent? What do you think that a godparent should do in the life of the child that they are the godparent to?
Recently my husband and I were honoured to become the godparents to our second godson, for me it is such a wonderful and special moment and am always proud to tell people stories about my godsons.
I know that people don’t always choose the title of godparent, they use others like mentor, or Guardian. It used to be that the godparent was part of the christian faith, and was responsible for overseeing the religious education for the child and caring for the child if they were orphaned. Nowadays it is not all about religion, it is about the people that the parents choose to take an interest in the child’s upbringing and personal development. It is not as often the people the parents choose if something were to happen to them. This needs to be stated in the parents will.
In this day and age what do we expect of a godparent? I posed this question to a few people lately and got various answers. Some of the people I spoke to told me that they don’t know who their god parents are, they are people that their parents used to be friends with. They are no longer friends with the parents and no longer in the life of the child. A lot of people that I spoke with chose siblings for the god parents of their children for that reason. Others chose multiple people, and some long time friends that had already been in their lives for countless years. People that I spoke to said that the godparents that they have chosen for their child are not necessarily the people that they would want to raise their children if something happened to them.
I take being a god parent seriously. I think it is about being there for the child. Encouraging the child, and letting the child know that you are there for them. Allowing that child to know that they are loved and that they can come to you for help, advice and as a confidant. I know that the advice may not always be what the parent may give but sometimes this is a good thing to get different perspectives and they can use you as a sounding board that might not be as emotionally invested in what they are asking about. I want to be the person in the life of my godsons that listens to them when they speak and encouraging them, praising them when the do good things, reinforcing positive behaviour and teaching them right from wrong. I want them to know that they can come to me when ever they need to talk about anything, serious, funny, silly, any reason at all.
What do you think are the important roles of a godparent in the lives of their godchild? Are they the people that you want to raise your children if you were no longer around to do so?