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Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati

Godparenthood

Tuesday, December 19, 2006




Remember that cliche, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride"? I can totally relate with it only mine goes, thanks to the fabulous Fran Lebowitz (Metropolitan Life), "Always a godparent... never a god".

I have this aura that seems to perpetually put me on my friends' godparent candidate list. I know I'm adorable and kids love me, but that's beside the point. I heard somewhere (see: I'm making this up) that if a kid you do not know personally instantly likes you as heshe looks over hisher mom's shoulder on an escalator, it says a lot about your innate likeability, or your semblance to a clown or Mickey Mouse depending on your ear size.

Anyways, godparenthood is serious business here in the Philippines. I guess the same is true in any predominantly Catholic country. Godparents are called "ninong" (male) and "ninang" (female). Their "inaanak" (godchildren) drop by their houses during Christmas to collect "Aguinaldo", basically moolah. I am not sure why it's named after a past president, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the presence of his face on the now defunct five-peso bill, and the now counterfeitable (?) five-peso coin. A local version of "It's all about the Benjamins", sort of. Give your godchild five pesos now and you'll definitely see a perplexed but clearly fuming child. Five pesos ain't worth shit, it doesn't even cover regular jeepney fare. I heard the GAP (Godchildren Association of the Philippines) is fighting to change the term "Aguinaldo" to "Aquino" (500 pesos) or "The Santos-Lim-Escoda Threesome" (1,000 pesos).

Giving gifts on Christmas and Birthdays is a welcome alternative. Godparenthood is a burdensome responbility. This is a fact a friend shouldn't even entertain in one's mind, let alone publish in one's public blog. But it is. I would honestly wanna spend my 13th month pay on a pair of Hushpuppies I saw last week or a kick-ass small-of-the-back tattoo, I instead find myself too often around Toy Kingdom or the 3-4 year old clothing section.

Giving is overrated. I like to give as much as I like receiving... scratch that, I like receiving more, but I don't mind giving. What drives me to look at Osh Kosh apparel and Bratz paraphernalia isn't the fulfillment that supposedly comes along with giving. It isn't totally the look of joy children emit when they see a new toy, although that is the best anti-depressant. It is the fact that MY godparents were shitty when I was young. They were either fictitious people I never saw in person, merely creatures I saw in a yellowish photo who were standing around a three-month old version of me, all of them clad in white and holding lit candles as a priest gives me a shampoo... OR, they did make their presence felt during my childhood Christmases and birthdays in the form of hankies or bar soap. What is a five year old supposed to do with 3 bars of Dove soap? and isn't a hanky for every birthday a tad too predictable?

I am breaking this vicious Vicious godparent cycle by being the most benevolent one I could possibly be (which isn't saying much) to the godchildren I am "active" with. Most of my "inactive" godchildren are a zip code or an ocean apart. And at times, I was a victim of a shot-gun baptism. Coercion takes on many forms.

I've nearly completed my godchildren Christmas shopping list. Unlike Santa, I do not have the luxury of crossing out naughty ones.

"Always a godparent, never a god"... Imagine what I could give them if I WERE a god... a college plan, a lifetime supply of legos, their own planet?... But I'm just a godparent.




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posted by Alternati, 12:29 AM
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