By Martha Park

April 21, 2014


I’ve watched my father baptize dozens of babies. After sprinkling a little water on the baby’s head, Dad carried the baby up and down the aisles of the church, pausing to let the people on each pew lean forward and meet this new member of their family.

Dad didn’t baptize me. Two of his old seminary buddies did it. Dad told me if I get married he won’t perform my wedding ceremony either. There are moments, he says, when he gets to sit back and cry.

When I was a child, though, I was afraid of the shower, so Dad washed my hair every night. Kneeling on the cold tile of the shower, he poured water over my head with a plastic lemonade pitcher. I thought of it as our own nightly baptism. He didn’t carry me through the aisles of a crowded sanctuary, didn’t announce my name into a clip-on microphone or read from pages thirteen through fifteen of the red, worn, hymnal. But he did wring my hair dry, wrap me in warm towels, and put me to bed in a room we sealed with round-robin prayers.


Photo "Towel Head" provided by DaxxKD, via Flickr creative commons license.

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