The Newman Show

Well, this was it, Isabelle’s christening…

At our wedding I knew where I had to stand, what I had to do and what I had to say. I must admit, apart saying hello to people-many who I’d not seen for far too long thanks to distance and generally just time zipping by faster than a speeding bullet, I found myself stood at the front of the church not really knowing what to do really or what to expect.

Sure, like most people I’d been to a few christenings in my time, even so I still wasn’t really prepared for the ensuing events, but then I don’t think any of us were…

In my limited experience of vicars (and I’m not counting Dawn French or Derek Nimmo in this) they either seem to be ponderously dull or a bit, let’s say left field. I think everyone who was there will agree that ours was the latter, not in a bad way but when at the beginning she said it might go “off script” (or words to that effect) I thought she was referring to the fact that there were lots of young children there and so the smooth running would be a tad unpredictable.

That wasn’t what she meant, as clearly demonstrated by her flicking “font” water at the God parents (Dave your face was a picture –luckily it didn’t look like you had had an accident for long), having something of a “Mamas and the Papas” moment with a musical interlude with all the children on musical instruments, best described as more Stomp than Last Night at the Proms, and her “Choose Your Own Adventure” non-linear style delivery from what we had on the paper in front of us.

I probably felt lost as I didn’t have a camera in my hand (that fell to my Dad, thanks) although I did have a pseudo Olympics moment where I had to carry a long staff and light candle (what I like to call my Well of the Souls moment from Raiders of the Lost Ark – you know, that bit where that map room is lit up by the sun when it hit the medallion Indy is holding on his staff). With so many people watching and so many drapes in my proximity I felt sure of a stumble (yes Dave, it’s the closest I’ve come in years to forgetting how to walk). Fear not though I hit my mark and my candle.

Post christening the gathered walked and drove to our second venue, Wellstead Gardens, a nice little sports and social club. Parking was a bit tight in the end but no one seemed to complain. It was great playing catch up with everyone although I kept on putting my drinks down so I don’t think I ever finished one complete drink.

Being a joint first birthday and christening, Isabelle was spoilt by a very generous and loving group of family and friends. It was just nice that so many of them were able to make it and wanted to spend time with Isabelle and share in mine and Sarah’s joy. It really meant a lot.

There are a lot of people we need to spend more time taking time out to see more often.

Sarah made some scrummy cupcakes that vanished in the blink of an eye and my brother and his partner (who unforts couldn’t be there but are available for hire for their cake making skills) made a fantastic Fifi and the Flowertots shaped cake, which I had visions of me dropping or stopping the car too suddenly with it in the front seat after in making the safe journey from Notts. There wasn’t much left of it by the end of the day.

I on the other hand made a short speech, made all the shorter by me feeling my voice falter a time or two. It’s easy to write and read in your head some of these things but harder when you have to say them to a bunch of people you care about and love.

I’ve included the full version (with previously unheard content) here:

I’d like to thank everyone here for being a part of this very special day, it’s you all being here to celebrate Isabelle’s first birthday and Christening that makes it all the more special.

Whether you’ve travelled one mile or over one hundred miles we are just so pleased that you could make it.

Isabelle is just pleased that there are more people to point at and who can join in with her clapping, both of which are her current favourite hobbies.

I know there are others who’d loved to have been here but through work or holiday commitments, or ill health, they just can’t be here today but know they are thinking of us and we are thinking of them.

Talking of journeys it seems to have been both a long and short one to get to today.

At the same time it seems as if we have had Isabelle forever – or some nights have gone on forever at least – whilst at the same time it has all happened in the blink of an eye.

I’d like to take a moment to thank my Mum and Dad, Harry and Susan, and Sarah’s Mum and Dad, Jeff and Jane, for all their love and their advice, not just to us about Isabelle but through both Sarah’s and my lives.

If we are as half as good, loving and inspiring as you are then we won’t have gone far wrong. I guess in many ways we are your legacy and Isabelle ours, but never underestimate the part you have shown in helping shape her life thus far and her life yet to be, no matter how near or far you are.

And to our God parents. At this stage it’s probably best to say that playing rock, paper, scissors isn’t the recommended or recognised way of choosing God Parents.

We’d like to thank Shaun, Sue, Dave, Lisa and Rachel for agreeing to take on their roles, with great power – especially during summer holidays and sponsored swims – comes great responsibility. We really do appreciate it.

You may have been pleased to have been asked, but we are proud that you said yes and are happy to play such an important part in Isabelle’s life, it’s just a shame you all live too far away for babysitting duties.

Talking of God parents, I’m pleased to say that one of mine, Auntie Diane, is here to celebrate with us today. So any God parenting tips please form an orderly queue.

I’d also like to thank my brother and his girlfriend, Shona, both of whom can’t be here today, for putting hours of hard work and love into creating Isabelle’s Fifi and the Flowertots cake. We had cake expectations about it and it’s brilliant, I thought Isabelle was going to spontaneously combust when she saw it she was that exited.

Having a child changes your life in too numerous ways to mention. Outnumbered becomes less of a sitcom and more required documentary viewing, NSPCC adverts or children being harmed or starving on the news invariably become harder to watch but for all that when you make Isabelle smile or clap or she points and grunts at something random or her brilliant blue eyes, I’ve always said she looks like a mix of Sarah and Dean Newman but has Paul Newman’s eyes, light up when you enter the room then it’s all worth it.

Lucky doesn’t even come close when it comes to how we feel about Isabelle and we’ve been fortunate to share those highs and joys and milestones with you, whether that be in person, on Skype or by keeping up to date with our blog, Dawn of the Dad.

It’s had over 9500 views since it first started and for me, even only a year down the line, which has seen over 100 Isabelle specific entries, photos and videos; it’s been charting those little moments that you would otherwise forget in the mists of time amongst those epic moments that’s made it really special for Sarah and I. I guess it’s less The Truman Show and more The Newman Show.

I write about people and take photos of them as part of my job. Sometimes making them interesting is a challenge, I never have that problem with Isabelle. Words just seem to ooze out of my fingers and writing about her is a pleasure and never a chore.

I’ve written about and taken photos of paralympians, academy award winning directors and numerous other important folk in suits, their all eclipsed by Isabelle. She is a forever will be my greatest work.

So thank you all for being a part of our special day and continuing to be a part of our lives. Here’s to season 2 of The Newman Show!

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