We thought they'd never ask.
Throughout our best friends' pregnancy, my husband and I had campaigned hard to become godparents to their firstborn. My husband vowed to enroll their son in a book program. I pledged to teach him Spanish. I even signed up for a knitting class with the goal of making him a blanket.
As the due date drew closer, we figured our friends had given the honor to another couple.
Passed up again, we thought. Rationally, we knew this wasn't about us. But as friends all around us were starting families, we wondered if we'd get asked just once.
Our hope was revived when we stopped by their house a few days before the due date.
"Nate and I have been talking ... " the expectant mother began. We knew where this was going. When she officially asked us to be the godparents of Nathan Leon Williams III, my husband and I looked at each other with faux contemplation.
"We'd be honored," I said nonchalantly. Then on the car ride home: "We're going to be godparents!"
The mama-to-be was induced on a Thursday morning. If Baby Nathan adhered to my timetable, I could finish my normal workday, catch Grey's Anatomy with my girlfriends and then head to St. Joseph's to meet the new addition. When I learned that visiting hours ended at 9 p.m., anxiety welled up in my stomach. What if Little Nate's arrival conflicted with my TV-watching schedule? Didn't he realize this was the first new episode since the writers' strike?
All day at work, as the father-to-be text-messaged labor updates, I felt sickened by my own shallowness. What kind of person could choose a hospital drama over a real birth? The immature kind, that's who. This wasn't like the olden days, when godparenting meant being on deck in case something happened to the biological parents. But was I ready for this responsibility?
According to the Vatican's Web site, godparents "must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized child or adult on the road of Christian life." Informally, godparents should pray for the child, set a good example, send birthday cards and take the kid to see the latest Narnia flick. Was that all? Consider it done.
I was just getting off work when the proud papa dashed off the much-anticipated text: 8 lbs... 7 oz... 21 inches...
On my way to the hospital (I finally came to my senses and decided, the hell with Dr. McSteamy), I stopped at Publix for an "It's a Boy!" balloon. I was strolling back to my car, off to a good start with this godmothering business, when to my horror the balloon detached from its string and began to drift above the parking lot. Strangers pushing shopping carts pointed heavenward at what was now a baby blue speck.
"Your balloon!" they shouted.
"I know!" I shouted back, powerless. I hoped this wasn't a sign of an ill-fated relationship with Little Nate.
An hour later, I arrived at the labor and delivery ward with my free replacement balloon in hand. The baby's grandmother passed him to me in a warm, sleeping bundle.
"You look mighty comfortable holding him," she said, and then implied something about my husband (of only three months!) and me having a baby of our own.
No thanks, lady. Anyone who would lobby to become a godparent and debate whether to choose a television show over her friends' newborn isn't ready for motherhood. At least not yet.