When A Sentinel and His Guide Were Born
Jimmy Ellison lay quietly in his mother's arms. Pale blue eyes looked around with interest, caught by the pretty colors that played through the stained glass windows. He waved a small little fist seeming to try to catch the translucent rays. He was content, warm and felt the love and care of his mother and father, both whose scent and heartbeat he recognized.
Grace smiled down at her beautiful first child smiling as he lay quiet and docile in her arms. She felt him snuggle close to her chest and it made her heart swell at his affection. Holding him carefully in her small, slender, long-fingered hands she pulled him away from her and laid him gently in the priests strong, sure, grasp.
Jimmy stiffened instantly and opened his mouth in a loud, piercing yell that caused even him to flinch. Grace started with surprise and reached for her weeping son, red suffusing her creamy complexion. Her hands banged into Williams large, soft hands who was also reaching for his firstborn, a look of embarrassment tinged with upset flushing his own pale complexion.
Father Arrow wood pulled Jimmy back not perturbed by the young Ellison's lack of piety. He continued with the christening ignoring the new parents chagrin. William and Grace dropped their hands and stood stiffly as the priest continued with the ceremony not daring to look at each other as their first-born son fought against his introduction into the Catholic church.
Finally it was over the priest was handing the unhappy child back. Grace grabbed for him first pulling him back against her chest, rocking him gently and crooning in his tiny, well shaped ear. Jimmy quieted immediately burrowing into his mother's shirt, breathing quick, breaths of her scent.
Grace looked up into the kindly priests eyes and with an apologetic nod moved off with William to let the next couple bring up their twins. Two tiny, bald babies and boy and a girl. William led her to their seat in the Ellison pew and she sat down on the red cushion just as another tiny cry ripped through the air. She turned and smiled with relief at her husband. It wasn't only Jimmy who didn't like getting christened. Thank God.
~ ~ ~
Ten years later...
In another place a new mother watched with trepidation and pride as her eight day old son was cut in the ceremonial brisk of the Jewish people. She held her breath as her son cried out and almost snatched him back, a little angry about the pain caused her precious baby boy. Still she couldn't have refused her brother's eager desire to celebrate this important Jewish tradition for his first and only nephew.
She looked around and had to admit that these people-childhood friends, her brother's friends, some of their family friends and their cousins and Aunt-cared about her as much and maybe more than her brother's and sister from the commune.
She couldn't help comparing the two ceremonies. The one at the commune had been outside under the sun. Blair had been offered to the heavens, the earth, the water and to himself. They had danced, sang, chanted, drank and smoked marijuana. They had been high with living and the introduction of a new life into essence of the earth spirit. They had thrown off their clothes and joined with each other in a celebration of life and new beginnings. She had been loved by at least three of her brothers in the spirit. It had been a heady, exciting time.
Not anything like this formal celebration with the Rabbi and everyone being dressed so demurely and acting so serious. She almost laughed at their solemnity but knew it wouldn't be appropriate. She didn't want to embarrass Ben or bring him distress, so she stood solemnly and eagerly reached for her son when they were done.
She brought him to her breast to quiet his angry squalls remembering just in time to cover herself. Only people out at the commune understood the freeness and beauty of the natural act of breast feeding. In most of society and this austere ceremony it was considered taboo and not of good taste.
Ben moved toward her hugging her tight and being careful not to squash little Blair who was now glaring at the room around him. Ben looked down into those deep, ocean, blue eyes and found himself chuckling at his nephew's spirit.
"Hey little one, it's over. You'll never have to do that again. Now you are proper Jewish boy even if your momma refuses to raise you as one."
"Oh Ben" Naomi complained hitting him on the shoulder. "I want Blair to have more options than that. I want him to find his own way to God. You know I don't believe in organized religion." She shook her head. "I never saw it do anything but restrict and hamper people, forcing them to follow arbitrary rules."
Ben hugged her again whispering in her ear. "I know sweet sister. I know. But it is good for Blair to have some connection to his roots and gives your family and friends a chance to celebrate his birth with you."
Naomi smiled. That was why she had come and brought Blair. With Ben's arm about her shoulders she moved into the group holding her son tightly to her but allowing everyone to coo and ahh as they offered gifts of his beauty and talent, along with money, clothes, toys and all the sundry other things a baby needed.
Back at the commune she give thanks in her own way. Today was a good day.