Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Goddaughter Inquiry

As I mentioned in my previous post, my goddaughter Kristie got married last weekend.  Kristie and her new husband Alex are regular guests in my house; they come to stay with us at least once a year.  They are easily two of my favorite people in the world, and I will sometimes talk about them at great length to anyone who will listen.

It's well known among my friends that I am thirty...something.  (Let's leave it at that.)  Kristie is in her mid twenties.

Of course, if you do some math, that suggests that I became a godmother when I was around ten or so, since most godparents get the job when the godchild is still a baby.  Obviously that wasn't the case here, but while I was sharing wedding details with her, my coworker Sunita asked me to explain how this all came about in the first place.

Well, it's kind of a long and needlessly complicated story, but here goes.

Some six-odd years ago, I met Kristie and a small pack of other geeks who were interested in the same movie I was - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  Specifically, these geeks ran an online roleplaying game where they played as characters from the movie or additional characters they'd created.  Through a series of small and generally not noteworthy circumstances, I ended up in the role of Captain Nemo on the board, and unofficial Team Mom off the board. See, as it turned out, these guys were all considerably younger than I was; Claire, the eldest (who was a bridesmaid on Saturday), was a ripe old 20.

Now, what does this have to do with my being a godmother?  Well.

As the oldest and only married member of the group, and the only one who didn't still live with his or her parents, I issued a general sort of invitation for "the kids," as my husband and I had started to call them, to visit.  I had great fun pointing out that both he and I had been investigated by the FBI, who found nothing, so their parents should have no qualms about our being upstanding citizens.  (It's true, too.  We were both federal employees for several years, the background checks were required.)  The two members of the group who live in England, the aforementioned Claire and Sarah, decided to actually take me up on this and arranged to come over during Sarah's spring break from university.  Kristie, who lives in Tennessee, decided to bring her little brother Jonathan and join the festivities.

This turned out to be a Really Good Thing for me, because while Claire and Sarah were here, my grandmother died.  I knew it was coming; I even warned them it was a distinct possibility; and Kristie and Jon arrived the day after she went.  The four of them were my greatest consolation during the very difficult days that followed, and I cried like a baby when they all left.

I'm getting to the point, honest.

Claire returned that fall for my 30th birthday party, at which Kristie and Jon were also supposed to join us but a hurricane got in the way.  A month later, my grandfather - husband to the grandmother I just lost in the spring - also died.  Kristie came two weeks later, which was a comfort, and we had a good visit.

Close to Christmas, I got an unexpected phone call.  Kristie was on a road trip with her college choir, and they were stopping for supper at a Wendy's not too far from where I live, and would I like to drive over and see her for a bit?  Of course I would!  But I wasn't really prepared for what I found when I got there.

Kristie explained that trying to tell her friends that she was going to Pennsylvania to visit her 'internet mom' was a little awkward.  I guess if you're not used to the concept, it does sound kind of peculiar.  She also explained that in her church, the kids pick their own godparents.  So as a result of these two facts, she'd decided that if we were willing, she'd like Kevin and me to take on the job.

And that's how I acquired a nineteen-year-old goddaughter in the middle of a Wendy's parking lot.

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