July 6th, 2011
Young Love, Catholic Confirmation, And God In México

During the sweaty summer of 1990, my parents decided that I would be doing my confirmation in Mexico – which made economic sense at the time.  In the United States, they had to pay for the confirmation classes as well as to wait for me to turn 16.  Why not do it in Mexico?  The plan was to spend some time with the extended family, pick up some tequilas and cream, and get me closer to God.

At the time, I was not exactly sure as to what a confirmation was.  All I knew is that I had to choose a godfather.  At the time I wanted my Tío Lorenzo because the man was so much fun.  He was a party animal, and I figured it would make for a good time.  Unbeknownst to me, a godfather had already been chosen.  My Tío Daniel had been tapped for the role since before our plane arrived in Guadalajara.  He was married to my father’s cousin and was not much of a party animal.  It was more of a convenience, since my parents were looking for a more permanent bond than simply blood.

The big day finally came.  It was a heat-filled Saturday morning, and we made the three-hour drive from La Rivera to Guadalajara.  I wore my best pair of slacks and a pressed, white shirt while the adults congratulated each other.  The drive was particularly tough because, although I was being bounced around in the back of a truck, I had to do my best to remain clean.  Our destination was a huge cathedral with immense doors and pained window depicting the betrayal and execution of Jesus Christ.  The day was so beautiful that you could not help but think that God was in business.

I waited around in the parking lot attempting to stay clean.  It was like waiting at the doctor’s office.  In the meantime, a young lady came up to me and started chatting me up about the fact that I spoke English to my sister.  She asked where I was from and I told her.  I felt an instant “Wonder Years”-like moment, and although the attraction may not have been genuine at the time, it certainly felt that way.  She then went inside, but not before telling me that I should wait around at the parking lot so that she could give her address and phone number in hopes that we could become pen pals.

The first thing that I noticed was that the whole cathedral was littered with babies.  They screamed and they cried and some of them even threw up a little.  Initially, I thought we had made some kind of mistake and had wondered into some kind of mass baptism.  I could not help but I notice that I was the oldest one there – and not by a short shot either, because everyone else was in diapers.  People stared at my direction as if my confirmation was some kind of sick joke.  The third thing I noticed was the girl I had met earlier, there with her little baby sister waiting for God to anoint her.  She had a look on her face of utter disgust.  Needless to say, she was not at the parking lot when the service concluded.

Follow Oscar Barajas on Twitter @Oscarcoatl

[Photo By limaoscarjuliet]

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