Guest Post: A Letter to My Daughter on Her Confirmation

Dear Tiff

It seems like almost no time at all since you were christened in the local church. In fact 14 and a half years have gone by. You’ve done an absolutely wonderful job of growing up, and at 15 you still have some way to go. For me it has raced by all too fast!

I know you have been to all the confirmation classes ready for the big day, but there’s a bit of backstory that you don’t know. Sometimes you say to me it’s not fair that your younger sister gets birthday gifts from her godparents when you do not. 

I think a lot of people don’t really know what the job of a godparent is. They turn up to the christening and say some words with the parents around the font. After the day of the christening there are no rules and people make it up as they go along. This often leads to somebody being disappointed. 

I think that presents and cards on birthdays would be a minimum, but your godparents have stopped bothering with this. I believe they are expected to pray for you as you grow up. Of course they might be doing this but we don’t know. They are not you sending birthday cards and it must seem like they have forgotten you. It’s really hard to take, I know.

Both you and your sister Cal have two godmothers and one godfather. That is six different people in total. Cal’s godmother who lives abroad definitely prays for her, she told me so. She doesn’t send cards but she gave Cal a gift the one time we managed to meet up. The other two always remember Cal’s birthday. She’s a lucky girl.

I can hardly ring up your godparents and say “hey, why don’t you send my child a birthday card you useless sod” but I really want to! I can’t fall out with them over this. Two of them are your cousins and the other one … well, more about her later.

You’re not alone in your disappointment. It happens in plenty of other families. I have many siblings but I was the only one who had full set of reliable godparents. I got so many cards and gifts over the years and they were people of faith who prayed for me too. They did everything I could have expected a godparent to do. I think this really hurt my other siblings because they never had contact from most of their godparents. They also felt forgotten. 

I am sorry to say that I think the seeds of your godparent abandonment were sewn at your christening, when you were a baby. We asked one of Daddy’s best friends to be godfather, but the church wouldn’t allow it because he hadn’t been baptised. So in a hurry we asked his wife to be godmother. We just didn’t pick up on the signals that she didn’t want to do it without her husband being involved. That’s definitely my fault, and I’m so sorry. She’s been reluctant ever since.

When we got to your christening service, we had another problem. Your two young cousins were not officially allowed to be godparents either because they were Baptists in our Anglican church. The vicar said they could do it informally. The nasty thing was, at the last possible minute when we were all assembled, the vicar refused to let them even come and stand near the font. He made them keep their distance. It was so insulting, and it embarrassed them deeply. 

The whole thing was sickening so a few weeks later we left that church. Cal was christened at a more welcoming church where the supportive vicar told us how sad he was for how your Baptist cousins had been treated. The strange thing for me is we are back at the original church now. All the staff have changed. The old vicar retired and the new vicar is a real gem. Even so, I am afraid I might cry in the service when it brings back the memories of what went wrong on your christening day.

Being confirmed sort of means your godparents don’t have a role any more. Of course you won’t even notice the difference. I wondered whether to even tell them that the confirmation service is happening. I decided that this one time I would boss them about a bit. I told them that they should send you a card. At quite short notice they all responded and sent some gifts too. It feels so much better to have had this acknowledgement from them. I’ve no idea what has been going through their minds all these years, but now at your confirmation we can draw a line under it.

Congratulations my darling Tiff.

See posts from previous weeks. 

A Letter to My Daughter on Her Confirmation: It seems like almost no time at all since you were christened in the local church. You've been to all the confirmation classes ready for the big day, but there’s a bit of backstory that you don’t know. I think a lot of people don’t really know what the job of a godparent is. They turn up to the christening and say some words with the parents around the font. After the day of the christening there are no rules and people make it up as they go along. This often leads to somebody being disappointed.

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A Letter to My Daughter on Her Confirmation: It seems like almost no time at all since you were christened in the local church. You've been to all the confirmation classes ready for the big day, but there’s a bit of backstory that you don’t know. I think a lot of people don’t really know what the job of a godparent is. They turn up to the christening and say some words with the parents around the font. After the day of the christening there are no rules and people make it up as they go along. This often leads to somebody being disappointed.
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