Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm Going to be a Fabulous Godmother

Here's my big sister and me chilling with my beloved godfather.
(Notice the beer and cigarettes behind me!)
In 1980, my Catholic parents asked their friend of a couple of years, Frank, to be my godfather. They could have asked one of my uncles, my Pop-Pop, or another friend, but no, they choose Frank. For the next 23 years, he truly never got over the thrill of having been asked.

Frank was an unlikely candidate for my parents’ friendship or my spiritual guide. He was a trucker who swore and cussed. He drank too much wine/margaritas/Tia Maria and lived in ratty t-shirts. He referred to his ex-wife only as The Bitch.

Despite that rough around the edges exterior, Frank had the biggest heart. Contrary to his politically incorrect humor, Frank viewed the world through his big blue eyes as being full of friends he had yet to meet. He loved and he loved big.

And he was my godfather. Mine! Of course he loved my parents and my siblings, but they could only call him “friend.” I got to call him “friend” AND “godfather.” That made me special.

Maybe in part because he didn’t have kids of his own, Frank always made me feel incredibly important, like no kid in the history of the universe was as awesome as I was. He would clap his hands together in delight and tell me how cool I was. He was endlessly amazed by my fabulousness. Can you imagine how that felt – for him and for me?

I have so many wonderful memories with Frank, like riding in his boat on the Atlantic Ocean, eating French toast at his house after my family had slept over, and smoking a cigarette with him and my dad (my dad! smoking!) on my 21st birthday.

But more than any of these moments, I will always remember Frank’s catchphrase with me.

Frank would ask me, “Who loves you?!” I would get super embarrassed and roll my eyes. So he’d say it again, amused by my embarrassment. “Who loves you?!” I would give in and say, “You do.”

As I got older, I wasn’t embarrassed to say I loved him. Instead, I would kind of shout my response! I wanted the world to know what Frank meant to me.

He would grin from ear to ear and laugh and say, “Ha! You’re cool.”

The day Frank died, I lost my number one fan. It's been 11 years and I still miss him terribly.

Given my relationship with my beloved godfather, I have always wanted to be a godmother. However, since realizing that I'm not down with Jesus and therefore am no longer religious, I figured I had no shot at being a godmother. 

I'll try to be as cool as this lady.
Well, I am honored to share that in the past five months, I have been asked twice to be a [non-Catholic] godmother!

The day her son was born – and what would have been my fifth wedding anniversary – my dear friend Melanie asked me over FaceTime from her hospital room in Germany if I would be her son’s godmother. (I will meet him in May!) And then, last week, I stood with my two-year-old niece during her child dedication ceremony and promised to love and support her through her spiritual journey.

It is a great honor of being asked to play a dedicated role in a person’s spirituality (Catholic or otherwise). Now, I am understanding more and more why Frank was so thrilled at having been asked to be my godfather. Especially since I don’t have children of my own, I am grateful for my roles as godmother and aunt.

Now it’s my turn to embarrass my godson, goddaughter, and nieces and nephews when I ask them, “Who loves you?!”

Have you been asked to play a special role in someone else's family? How did it make you feel?


  1. I've never been a Godmother, but I do have children and the ones that we chose were also different from family. What a lovely thing that says about you!

  2. On behalf of those godparents, we thank you!

  3. It is definitely flattering. :)