JC and I agreed a long time ago that we wanted our children to have godparents. This isn’t a normal Mennonite thing, nor is it common in the Churches of Christ (where JC grew up). Some of my Catholic family members, though, have deep and lasting relationships with their godparents and godchildren. In particular, my granny’s godchildren are very much part of her life. It’s a way of extending family ties to include the friends who are so close to your heart that they are like family.

Our children will grow up far away from all of their aunts and uncles. We wanted them to have adults in their lives who would be their special people–who would make a commitment to root for them, guide them, be their confidantes when they felt they couldn’t come to us, tell us when we were missing the mark with them. We wanted different people to be their guardians, in case anything happened to us–these people, they share. We wanted each of them to have their own godparents.

During my pregnancy with Silas, our friends Myers and Laura were going through a difficult time in their lives. The story is not mine to tell; suffice to say, JC and I prayed for them daily. They were on our hearts all the time. I believe that God asked us to make a special connection between them and our baby. I remember talking about this with JC as we drove home after our mid-pregnancy ultrasound. We agreed then that, no matter what happened with the struggles they were going through, we would ask them to be our baby’s godparents. It felt crazy–was it inconsiderate of us to ask this, during such a complicated time? It also felt right.

Myers and Silas (3 months)

We were excited to ask them, and also nervous. It was a strange thing to ask, and we didn’t know what it would mean. It was a strange time, for them. We were relieved when they said yes.

At that time, we didn’t know what a blessing it would be. We just knew we should start down this path. Silas has a special relationship with them already, and has for a long time. I don’t think we’ve talked with him, yet, about the idea that they are his godparents. Still, he talks about them more than our other friends. When he was little, he would go to them more easily than to other adults he saw as frequently. He has blue eyes, while mine are hazel and JC’s are brown. They were a surprise–we joke that he got them from Laura.

Laura and Silas

What I hadn’t anticipated was how they would be as much a blessing and a guide to me as to him. I’m so bound up in my relationship with Silas, with the daily frustrations of potty training and manners, that I sometimes forget what a joy he is. His godparents have less ego invested in him. They can remind me that he is a wonderful little person. Just seeing them with him–overlooking his rough edges and smiling at his beautiful soul–helps me see him that way, too. I think they can do this because his behavior doesn’t reflect back on them. They don’t say, a thousand times a day, “Use gentle hands! Can you ask nicely?” They just enjoy him.

Silas (2 years) and Myers

Silas, for his part, absolutely adores them. He asks every day when we will see them. The first dream he ever told me about was “Uncle Myers was bring me juice to me.”

Peter and Petra (2 days)

We asked Peter and Bethany to be Petra’s godparents. We don’t know yet where this relationship will lead, but I hope it is as rich as Silas’ with Myers and Laura. She is named for them. We hope that she will grow into a faith as strong as Bethany’s and as joyful and inquisitive as Peter’s. I know they will be a blessing to her as she grows, and I hope she will bless them, in turn.

Petra (1 month) and Bethany


Aili Written by:


  1. Walter
    November 28, 2012

    I have an issue with the “Irish Catholic” statement. On my side of the family, we are German, Irish and Scottish. And we were all raised in the Catholic church and we all have godparents.

    As children, we all had a special relationship with our godparents. If you ask anyone of your uncles, they will tell you the same thing.



    • November 28, 2012

      Well, I never heard any of you talk about it, so I assumed it was more of an Irish thing (or a Mom’s family thing). I figured you all had godparents, but I know that it can be sort of a formality, rather than an ongoing relationship for some people. I’ve actually met some of Granny’s godchildren, and I’ve seen pictures and heard stories about Mom’s godfather. I guess you just didn’t talk about it. I’ll go ahead and edit out the Irish bit, then.

  2. […] I was left speechless. I haven’t told Petra the story of how she got her name, because I figured not-quite-two was too little to understand it. There’s etymology and history in there. We do call her “Petey” sometimes, but that’s not what she said. Clear as a bell, she said, “Uncle Peter,” which is how we refer to her godfather. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *