I am changing churches. Yesterday I gave a verbal agreement to a fellow church member that Belle and I would attend mass today. I showered and washed my hair last night, set an alarm and rose early this morning. I drank my tea, made and ate breakfast and got myself ready. I let Belle wake naturally, packing her portion of breakfast along with fruit snacks for a park picnic after mass. We were right on time when Belle woke up. Unfortunately, Belle needed to be diapered, breast fed and dressed, in that order. My tea kicked in while getting Belle ready, which couldn't wait. I just resolved to be a little late for the sake of my own sanity.
I found a hidden spot between the church and the rectory to park the pushchair. I carried Belle into church as quietly as possible and slipped into a pew in the back. Reading Belle's cues, I knew she needed to finish breastfeeding. I nursed Belle as discretely a mother could nurse a wily toddler in public. This didn't stop her from emitting the usual cries of toddler frustration during mass. Belle did very well regardless, until later on, with mass over and familiar faces suddenly leaning into hers. A mom of teenagers failed to understand why Belle wouldn't engage with her. She didn't appreciate Belle's cries during mass and need for space after mass. Then came that nasty battle with that old woman.
There is an old woman in this church who complains about everything and everyone. This woman I detest. I never feel as if I were ever in the presence of God after coming into contact with this woman. She had no problem pointing out even the smallest things. She took issue today with me because she hadn't seen me inside the church, just outside steering the pushchair. This escalated into another confrontation about Belle's Baptism, this time, in front of a third party. It isn't a good enough answer that I want Belle's godparents to be people I know and trust. I must choose them now. I don't know people like that in Alameda.
I am a single mom doing the best I can without much of a tribe. I want Belle baptized. I don't know who to ask to stand in with us. I don't want her to be like me. I no longer have contact with my godparents. I remember being confirmed with just my grandmothers and a couple Taco Bell tacos to celebrate. I remember graduating university and not having anyone in the audience. I remember being hit by a car and nursing a concussion at home alone. I remember being in hospital giving birth alone. I want so much more for Belle. I will have her baptized when it's right. If that means changing parishes, so be it. I can't keep taking it from that old woman. I am afraid I will just go off on her one day. Belle doesn't need that.