Iris gets a name

by Michael

I’ve been a little under the weather these past few weeks with a wholly unimpressive (self-diagnosed) virus that has done the bare minimum to be irritating without ever developing into an illness worthy of the name. Still, it has meant constant headaches and an annoying level of tiredness that has meant blogging has taken a back-seat to childcare and work.

Iris and Kate

Iris with one of her godmothers, Kate

However, I’m feeling better now, which is just as well because we had a little ‘naming’ ceremony for Iris yesterday. She is 7½ months old and just the smiliest, sweetest little thing. We appointed her godparents, drank champagne, gave mini-speeches and ate cake. Lots of cake. Iris was asleep for most of it (a rare afternoon nap!) but woke up in time for gifts.

A word about the godparents. We are a pretty atheist family: Sophie puts herself nearer agnostic than atheist but definitely on that end of the spectrum, while I am an atheist for the simple reason that I just don’t believe in any gods. So why have we given our girls godparents?

I’ll come on to the word ‘godparent’ in a minute – first the role we expect these friends of ours to fulfil. We love the idea of our children having more adults than their family with whom to have an ongoing relationship, to get advice from and complain about their parents to! It extends their circle of grown-up acquaintances beyond the gene pools of our two families. It gives them broader understanding of the world around them, experiences beyond home, nursery and school. Plus, it allows us to ensure these great friends of ours are not just around as our girls grow up, but involved.

So if godparents had never existed, I hope we would have been inspired to invent them. We wouldn’t have called them ‘godparents’ in that case, but I see no reason to ignore the tradition from which these roles have arisen. That we are adamant Edie and Iris’s godparents have no religious component whatsoever doesn’t mean we have to come up with a new name for them within our family. The ‘god’ in godparent is, for us, as godly as the ‘god’ in Godfrey or Godalming.

Welcome to the world, then, Iris. And welcome to godparenthood Kate, Alan and Vivienne. We hope you enjoy your part in helping Iris develop into a lovely human being, just as Paul and Gemma are doing for Edie.

Edie and cake (and friend)

Edie and cake (and friend)