A few months after the announcement of Baby O’Chunky was coming in 2019 and seeing a mixture of different emotions ranging from pure excitement to less than pleased horror, Mr. Darcy and I started to really openly discuss our thoughts on the future.
We discussed the interesting thoughts relating to maternity and other unmentionable topics relating to my career as a Registered Nurse, before I decided to rip off the bandage. By ripping off the bandage and revealing what lay underneath, I brought up the matter pertaining to all things relating to: life, death and what would happen to Baby O’Chunky and any future siblings. Especially if something were to happen to Mr. Darcy and I.
Despite the fact of Mr. Darcy not being able to fathom the idea of his pregnant fiancée (at the time) talking about life, death and the grey matter in between; we sat down at our little kitchen table and tackled the nitty-gritty head on. By opening Pandora’s box and genuinely having an honest conversation on topics that I thought and felt were incredibly important as parents, we discussed and shared our thoughts regarding the importance of having a naming ceremony or baptism, how we envisioned Baby O’ and any future siblings were to be raised as a Christian or Catholic.
Like any expecting parent before our time, we spoke of our concerns, hidden fears and thoughts on how life would continue without us and how we envisioned Baby O’Chunky’s life would be. Over a drink and a couple of pages in my notebook were filled with ideas and question, Mr. Darcy and I agreed as a couple that Baby O’Chunky and any future siblings would need to turn to those with similar beliefs and values when it came to raising and providing a home, rather than a house.
Being someone who cannot live and function properly without a running To-Do List, I opened up my bullet journal and proceeded to write down a few headers that I considered were to be incredibly important to me and Mr. Darcy and I went from there. We stuck to these headers and briefly jotted down notes when it came time to planning Baby O’Chunky’s naming ceremony.
01. Choosing Godparents.
For as long as I can remember, Lois and Red have always informed my siblings and I that if something were to happen to either one or both of them; the house belongings would be packed up, transported and we would be gracing the front door of The Admiral and The Fairy Godmother. There, we would live in a rather quaint little beach town on the coast of New South Wales until the age of 18.
Having always grown up with the notion of knowing how strict life would be, particularly in regards to schooling, the importance of having a proper education and university being a somewhat must (if we showed interest is wishing to extend and develop our interests); us children, knew The Admiral and Fairy Godmother had similar beliefs and values to those of our parents.
With my knowledge and acceptance of life eventually ends in death, Mr. Darcy and I admitted to craving something similar to what my parents had had with The Fairy Godparents and how we wanted this to continue with Baby O’Chunky.
Having written down a long list of family and friends names and with a promise of discussion if there were conflicting emotions and thoughts, we started asking ourselves some pretty brutal and very honest questions about our friends and family.
- Do our friends and family members share the similar beliefs and values expressed by us?
- Can our family members help guide a growing Baby O’Chunky (and any future siblings) through life and possibly, his beliefs and values pertaining to faith?
- Will our friends still be friends in 10 years and if not, will we regret having them as godparents?
- Does the future godparent/s have the capability to be openminded when it comes to different religions and not force their own religious beliefs and values upon Baby O’Chunky?
- Can this person be open to expressions of interest regarding modern day topics like raising a child to be gender neutral, encouraging education on breastfeeding and other forms of feeding and promoting different styles of parenting, education and bringing awareness to the stigma of mental health?
- How do they feel about gender equality, sexual harassment within life and the workforce and if Baby O’Chunky came to them with concerns, would they shut him down or take a stance and fight?
- Would they support Baby O’Chunky (and future siblings) if he/they were to come out and provide a safe space for Baby O’Chunky/siblings to be proud member/s of the LGBTQIA community?
- What were their individual beliefs and values on raising children, promoting education and helping establish confidence, encouragement and fierce loyalty to their family and siblings?
- Are they going to offer you and your child support if needed?
- Do we want siblings partners to be included as godparents and if not, why?
Having interviewed all of our siblings and close friends over the duration of a few months, Mr. Darcy and I found Baby O’Chunky’s Godparent. Although most of our siblings showed the skills needed for being a godparent and someone who can support a child through hardships and utmost happiness.
Mr. Darcy and I felt deeply within our hearts and soul, Kaffy was the person for Baby O’Chunky.
We knew from the moment Kaffy attended Baby O’s 20 week scan and she was able to see him move about, the look of pure happiness and love was everything we needed for confirmation.
Kaffy has shown us over the many months, what a truly fabulous secondary mother she will be to Baby O’Chunky. During times of sleep deprivation, growth leaps, moments of needed nurturing and a boosting of self confidence, Kaffy has been there through thick and thin.
What really settled Mr. Darcy and I, asking Kaffy on behalf of Baby O’Chunky on a sweet day last year and in a very personal way, is the fact Kaffy stated she wouldn’t just nurture and encourage Baby O’Chunky and his future siblings. Particularly, in achieving and striving for their goals.
But she would advocate and encourage them to openly share and voice their thoughts and emotions and Kaffy has a philosophy in motion for what it takes to be a parent, a supporter of education and creator of dreams, hopes and aspirations.
02. The Perfect Ceremony Season
I have always been a bit of a strange character when it came to my beliefs on why I thought it was important for a baby to be baptised or have a naming ceremony within its first year of life. Whether it be the underlying fear of something awful happening and the poor babe being stuck in limbo-land or not having its name officially stated, I was absolutely besotted with tears and fears while pregnant and they seemed to increase after giving birth to Baby O’Chunky.
With an ever patient and suffering Mr. Darcy at my side, I secretly started organizing Baby O’Chunky’s naming ceremony for the month of July as I knew people from all over Australia would be travelling for Mr. Darcy’s 30thbirthday. Upon revealing the date to Mr. Darcy while keeping it a secret, we both thought it would be a joyous time for us. Expect that went out the window with my Brother and Sister in Law’s wedding commitment ceremony and I returned to the drawing board.
Having discussed The Fairy Godmother’s travel arrangements and promptly forgetting them due to sleep deprivation and an infant, I came to realise September wasn’t appropriate due to The Fairy Godmother travelling around Paris, Mr. Darcy and we were finalising the remaining items for our wedding. As the year crept closer to an end and my greatest fear of having an ‘unnamed child’ grew, Mr. Darcy and I settled on a date.
As Mr. Darcy, Baby O’Chunky and I are water babies, we entertained the thought of finding the utmost perfect ceremony season and we both decided the beautiful sunny, summer of January would be perfect. We came up with the idea of looking specifically at the weekends of January and due to my niece celebrating her 1st birthday, Mr. Darcy and I wanted to pay homage to Baby O’Chunky being an Australian with mixed heritage.
This particular day has a variety of different meanings to us as a couple from symbolising family and coming together to embrace different faiths, nationalities and with that, we thought Australia Day was perfect.
03. The Christening gown
After arranging and finalizing the date for Baby O’Chunky’s naming ceremony, Lois went into a mad panic and started tearing the house apart in hopes of finding my christening gown. Or, at least her wedding dress so we could make a christening gown for Baby O’. With no such luck of being able to find the missing wedding gown of the decade and my christening gown, we came to the realisation of my christening gown wouldn’t fit Baby O’ as he was nearly a year old.
Late one night, I scoured the internet and various Etsy shops for christening gown ideas and with the realisation of having to pay an arm, a leg and my kidney, I decided there and there that Baby O’Chunky wouldn’t be wearing a christening gown. The next day, I felt a little bit deflated as I had envisioned Baby O’ looking adorable in a flowing white gown and bonnet (only for it to be ripped off) and I turned my thoughts to family photos when the answer hit me in the face.
There, in all of his utmost glorious chubbiness, gorgeous little rolls that you want to nibble on and soft billowing of cinnamon coloured curls was Pablo…. and his sailor naming ceremony outfit!
Dropping my phone onto the couch and quickly racing to Baby O’s nursery, I dropped to my knees and pulled open the draw that had the size 0 clothing. With a quick breath in, I lifted out a little sailor romper with a jaunty little scarf and knew immediately, Baby O’ had matching blue inspired boat shoes, the sailor outfit would be perfect and he would look hands down: gor-geous!
In that moment, I thanked Pablo for being a fashionable baby at his naming ceremony and being a great influence to Baby O’ in the years to come. While thanking Lois and Kaffy for buying Baby O’Chunky the best damn outfit a baby could have.
As I sat there on my son’s bedroom floor, I came to terms that no every baby is destined to wear a billowing white christening grown and that was 100% okay with me.
04. The Naming Service
When it came to the naming ceremony itself, one of the things Mr. Darcy and I agreed to was location, location, location being incredibly important to us. As we were not having a typical baptism for Baby O’Chunky, Mr. Darcy and I had a few key elements that needed to be ticked off before settling on the location.
Our key elements included:
- It needed to be near or on the beach
- The location had to have significant memories, emotions or personal linkage to us as a couple and/or parents.
- It had to be large enough for family and friends to attend.
- Have cooking facilities like a barbeque, table and chairs for eating
- Public amenities and ample parking.
Having always been a lover of travel and adventures, both locally and interstate, I went through my memory bank of locations and destinations I’ve travelled too within the past few months. As I thought about the times spent praying Baby O’Chunky would fall asleep for a few minutes, so I could mentally switch off and focus on myself, I found a few little hotspots that brought a sense of comfort, silence and a general sense of wellbeing.
It would be during the time of trying to find local hotspots to have Baby O’Chunky’s naming ceremony, one of the destinations that kept appearing in the foreground of my mind was a place I accidentally found after taking the wrong turn off.
Having piled Mr. Darcy and Baby O’ in the car for a local adventure one overcast day, I pulled up into the parking lot of Point Arkwright Headland Park and we both turned to look at one another. We knew then and there, Point Arkwright Headland Park was a place that brought so many feelings to our minds.
This destination was a place, I had secretly yearned to share with my friends and family. For it had so many private meetings, secret Mum and Dad dates with a few sneakily shared kisses, promises and squeezing of hands and… it was a stunning location! Everything on our list of must-haves and necessities was ticked off.
As we were not having Baby O’Chunky blessed by a priest, I spoke to Mr. Darcy about my desire and need to have someone, who believed in the greater being and all things pertaining to faith and God. In return, Mr. Darcy explicitly asked me to not have the naming ceremony in a church as we are not religious worshippers, who attend church regularly.
My thoughts turned to a naming ceremony that I had witnessed as a little child and how it had had an impact upon my life, I immediately knew of someone who had the wealth of knowledge pertaining to the Bible, Jesus’ message of God’s power and wrath and they could provide the exact message of what Mr. Darcy and I wanted to share with our family and friends.
Mr. Darcy and I asked The Fairy Godmother to be the voice of everything we believe in as people, parents and co-creators of a new generation.
05. The Timing of Things
With the naming ceremony to be held on Australia Day and with it being a public holiday, Mr. Darcy and I elected to have the morning spent as a family and talking about Australia being a multicultural society. We decided it would be cooler (temperature wise) and smarter to hold the naming ceremony in the later part of the afternoon, so our family and friends could spend the morning with the loved ones.
Family and friends were informed via invitation, the naming ceremony was to be held at Point Arkwright Headlands Park, at 4pm.
On the day of the naming ceremony, the saving grace of the day was knowing we had until roughly 3.30pm to run around like headless chickens and finalise the odd bits and pieces that needed to be wrapped up.
Side note: I wouldn’t recommend following in my footsteps at all! In fact, I would recommend having everything to do with your own baby’s naming ceremony and/or baptism finalised a day or two before the ceremony.
This means: having the baby’s outfit ready, family and friends being reminded of the location, time and what to wear (if appropriate) and your own outfit and make up laying out the night before.
05. After the service
As some of our closest friends and family travelled from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast, Mr. Darcy and I really wanted to incorporate a few Aussie traditions after the naming ceremony. While the thought of having a few roast chickens and the scratching’s sounded delicious and sweating-ly hot in my tiny kitchen, we settled on the idea of having something more substantial for dinner rather than an afternoon tea shin-ding.
Sticking to Australia Day traditions, we invited everyone back to our home for an afternoon and early evening of entertainment.
As I tendered to the salads and other various appetisers, Mr. Darcy tendered the barbecue as he chatted to everyone while throwing a prawn (shrimp) and our nieces and nephews screamed with glee in our pool. The only goal and ambitious dream for after the ceremony was to have all of our loved ones in one location, laughing and chatting away happily and merrily to one another and coming together to celebrate the joyous occasion of introducing the next generation to the O’Chunky family.
Mr. Darcy and I embraced the knowledge of our son being in welcoming warm hands (if something were to happen to either one or both of us) of Kaffy and she would raise him the way we would have. While knowing, everyone who was invited and attended, are deeply loved by Mr. Darcy and myself and have played a significant part in our lives as parents and will continue doing so.
As the sun lowered itself in the sky and I watched as it turned into various hues of pinks, purples, reds and oranges, I reflected back on the morning Baby O’Chunky had been born.
Of how I had stood at the windows of my hospital room, waiting patient for the sun to rise with a sleeping babe in my arms. As the sun began to break over the horizon, I whispered out loud….
benvenuto alla luce, Blake Austin. Ti do alla luce.