Last weekend was a very special occasion as we celebrated Thomas’s christening at our church. It was a beautiful, but bittersweet day. The last time our friends and family came together in our church was for Jessica’s funeral. It was lovely to be together again for a much happier occasion, but hard too that our big girl will always be missing from such occasions.
We made sure she was included in the day though. The hymn that we chose for the service – Great is Thy Faithfulness – is one that had significance for us throughout Jessica’s journey and was one of the hymns at her funeral. The line “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” in the final verse still speaks to me now. I wore the same top that I had worn for Jessica’s welcoming service and my blue “prayer shawl” which has been a significant part of Jessica’s journey. We also took a picture of her with us so we could include her in some of the photos.
Nick, our minister, took his first service at our church two days before Jessica was born. He led Jessica’s welcoming service at church (she was baptised in the hospital a few minutes after being born) and baptised Sophie. I am glad that he was still at our church to baptise Thomas too. It is lovely to have that continuity.
Thomas is named after both his grandads. My father-in-law’s middle name is Thomas and his father’s name was also Thomas – so our Thomas is named both for his grandad and his great-grandad on daddy’s side. His middle name Peter was my dad’s name. My dad died nine years ago, a few months after hubby and I got married. He never got to meet any of my children but I like to think he’s now looking after Jessica in heaven for me.
Thomas means “twin” which seems appropriate in some ways as so far he is Jessica’s double. Peter means “rock” and is a nice strong name. It is also feels appropriate – the joy of Thomas’s arrival has certainly been a rock to hold on to in the storms of our grief from losing Jessica.
The christening gown
I had my heart set on having Thomas christened in my dad’s christening gown. It is 85 years old and Thomas was the first baby to be christened in it since my dad. My nan would have been thrilled to know that Thomas was being christened in that gown. She had wanted one of her grandchildren to have it. My mum had told her she would have her baby christened in it when she was expecting us. She didn’t realise she was having twins though – I was a surprise baby!
My mum couldn’t have one of us christened in that gown and not the other, so she took a photo of each of us in my dad’s gown for my nan and bought us our own christening gowns. Sophie wore my christening gown when she was christened. Jessica was baptised in the hospital at a few minutes old. We had a welcoming service for her instead at church and she wore a little white dress for this. I quite like the fact that all three of them had their own special outfit.
The christening shawl
Thomas also wore his daddy’s christening shawl. This was knitted by hubby’s great-grandmother Emily. All three of our children have worn this. It is lovely to have something special to hand down from both sides of the family.
Thomas has the same godparents as both his sisters plus two of our friends from church. We knew our church friends would be wonderful godmothers. They’ve been brilliant with our girls. We didn’t want to break up “Team Godparent” though. They have also been wonderful godparents to the girls and have been so supportive throughout Jessica’s journey, and particularly so when she died. I am so glad that they were all willing to be godparents again.
I made Thomas’s cake – a rainbow cake with a chocolate icing font and vicar holding a baby. It’s very similar to the one I made for Sophie. Hers was a plain sponge – I hadn’t come across the idea of making rainbow cakes back then! Having a rainbow cake this time also felt appropriate given that Thomas is my rainbow baby. The banner on Thomas’s wasn’t part of my plan though. I made a mistake when writing his name on it (started in the wrong place and didn’t have enough room for both names!) so had to cover it up!
Sophie wanted to cut the cake. I love Thomas’s expression and the way he’s holding his hands out in the photo after the cake was cut.
I think the cake went down well – all we had left at the end was the vicar and baby figure and rainbow-coloured crumbs!
It was a special day celebrating the joy of our beautiful boy’s arrival into our family. Thomas seemed to enjoy being passed around for lots of cuddles. I hardly saw him from the end of the service until it was time to go home! Sophie also loved getting to spend time with family and friends. Thank you to everyone who came and helped make his christening day such a lovely one.