I consider myself to be more spiritual than religious. I have a deep appreciation for the grace and beauty of the world around us, and I have faith that a higher power is present in my everyday. Still, it is important to me that I give my kids a foundation upon which they can build a religious life of their own. I respect the traditions of my Christian ancestors, and I want my children to feel tied to their roots. With all that in mind, Chris and I very happily baptized Vivian last weekend in the same church we were married in nearly six years ago.
Vivian was quite calm during the ceremony. I will forever remember the peaceful and curious look in her eyes as the holy water was poured on her head. Her sparse red hair shined with the holy oil. In my eyes, she radiated peace and gratitude.
However, ever since that most special occasion I have been overcome with nausea. I told Chris that I haven’t felt this sick since the early days of my pregnancy a year ago! I very quickly isolated the problem: the scent of the holy oil on my little girl’s head. I have very little tolerance for fragrance of any sort, and apparently the perfumey balsam in the oil was too much for me. Despite a good dose of Catholic guilt, I asked Chris to wash her hair. And he did. Twice. And the scent remained.
This morning as I nursed her I was again overcome with nausea. I washed her baby hair twice with soap and once with shampoo. The scent – and my nausea – remained. By this evening I was nearly overcome with my symptoms, but I didn’t want to use any more harsh products on her sensitive skin.
I turned to a simple and all-natural solution: coconut oil. She smiled at me as I rubbed the oil into her hair in the same way the priest anointed her head the day before. In a small way, I felt like I was baptizing her with the blessing of Mother Nature. I wasn’t washing away religion – I was gently layering on the earthy side of our family’s spirituality. After I wiped away the coconut oil, my nausea ceased and I happily kissed the top of her tiny head. It was a truly blessed moment, and I felt God-Mother smiling down upon us.
It seems like there isn’t much room for spirituality in our hurried and frazzled and hectic world. I will gratefully accept any opportunity to connect my children to the Earth and God…even if it involves coconut oil!
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