Maybe he’s not all bad after all

Even at age 7, he’s pretty sinful.

Hence the pool.

My youngest nephew, Jon, got baptized Sunday afternoon, but the First Presbyterian Church of Stanton bypassed the traditional baptism from my youth (I was sprinkled with holy water, thank you very much). Instead, Jon (and two of his cousins) received full immersion, as is now the trend at the church.

And not just full immersion into any body of water, mind you, but a preacher-pushed dunk into my sister and brother-in-law’s new swimming pool.

Holy water indeed.

Jon decided a couple of months ago to get baptized, but conflicting baseball schedules kept pushing the actual event back. I’m not sure if Jon’s soul remained in eternal peril during that gray-area time period, but the little guy certainly took full advantage of the sin-washing that was due to come. In the days leading up to the baptism, he apparently just became a full-out turd, which is not all that surprising given that his mindset closely resembles that of his uncle (he is, however, much cuter given that I do or do not resemble Toby Keith, depending on who is judging).

My sister let her sons (she has three total) invite friends over on Saturday to play and swim, but Jon apparently wanted none of the social life. He pouted in the kitchen, his weary head resting on an elbow-propped hand, telling my sister he “wasn’t in the mood for company” and that no one had bothered asking him if people could visit.

Now, I don’t have kids, but somehow I doubt it’s common practice for social calendars to get final approval from a 7-year-old. My sister agreed, telling Jon that for all she cared he could stay in his room while everyone else had a grand time.

And that’s just what he did, at least until lunch, after which he ventured out into the daylight and proceeded to become the life of the party.

His good spirits continued into Sunday, in large part to a voice-changer I bought for the boys — mainly so they could annoy the bejesus out of my sister. Mission accomplished. At one point, we honestly thought Jon was going to answer the pre-baptism questions sounding like a high-pitched robot.

I encouraged it. My sister? Not so much, citing blasphemy, sacrilege and a host of obscure scripture passages in Habakkuk and Ephesians. I tend to think God and Jesus have a good sense of humor, but I’m not so sure about the Holy Ghost.

My mom paid a visit to my sister’s house as everyone prepared for church, and she asked me if I would be showering and dressing at her house.

“I’ll probably just get ready right here,” I answered. “They have soap and water, right?”

“Actually we don’t,” my sister replied. “My boys don’t bathe much here.”

“I’ll just jump in the pool.”

Jon looked at me with a concerned face. “Don’t skinny-dip.”

I didn’t, afraid of what the soon-to-be holy water would do to my sinful bathing suit area. (And this is mainly just a set up for Ninja to leave a comment.)

Once church started, my family (we had 12-15 people there) started getting emotional, although I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because Jon is the baby of the family, but if that’s what everyone was thinking, then clearly they’ve given up any hope of me ever reproducing. Of course, any kid of mine is likely to pee in a swimming pool baptismal font, so it’s probably best for everyone if I don’t father anyone anytime soon.

Mostly, though, I’d say they were crying because my family was there, and as recently as three years ago, we wouldn’t have been certain we’d all be in one place together, let alone a church. Dad, who was not known for church attendance when I was a kid (I once asked mom if we’d miss him when we were in heaven), has become a bit of a church chatterbox, speaking up whenever the opportunity presents itself (and even times when it is pretty inappropriate).

So there they all were, crying and talking, and my sister started dabbing at her eyes, trying to keep her composure before singing later in the service. Jon, sitting in the pew behind her, leaned up, patted her hand and told her, his voice low and serious, “Don’t cry.”

You know, when the preacher dipped Jon in the water to cleanse him of his sins, I hope that part of him wasn’t washed away, too.


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