Friday, December 02, 2011

A Lutheran thank you to the Roman gods

For the last quarter century I have defined a large portion of my life as being the father of children.  Well, no more.  With the 18th birthday of the youngest I can now turn that page.  Oh, sure they are still my offspring, but they are children no longer. It has been, I may say with understatement, a major undertaking.  Spouse and I would like to extend our profound thanks to the various neighbors, friends and teachers who have helped bring this enterprise to a hopeful conclusion.
But there have been times when the degree of patience required would seem to exceed mere mortal capacities.
The Romans knew this, and so had an entire array of minor deities working full time on the upbringing of children.  I know that since the Edict of Milan they have all officially been in retirement, but just in case a few of the old gaffers are still freelancing I wanted to take a moment to recognize their efforts individually.
Candelifera-Goddess of Childbirth.  Specifically bringing children out into the light of the world.

     I will think of you every time I light a candle.
Vaticanus-The God in charge of an infant’s first cry
     Well done.  I do hope you stay in touch with…..
Cuba-Goddess who watches over children at night.
     Particularly invoked when children are sick at night or just crying a lot.  As her name comes from cubiculum, or small room, I assume she also hears from Dilbert with annoying frequency.
Fabulinus-The God who helps children speak their first word.
     Sorry we forgot to give you a special offering on these happy occasions, but they are certainly remembered.  Your name has knocked about a bit, from the word fabulari-“to speak”-down to us as fable-a fanciful story.  And oh, we have heard a few of those over the years.
Potina-Goddess who watches over children’s drinks
     Sometimes the Romans got a little carried away.  Really, the Goddess of the Juice Box?  But in a day when infant mortality was horribly high maybe this made sense.  Besides, this is one Goddess who still seems to be open for business.  Our kids had a great baby sitter who would make them “potions” with various food colors and juices.  Thanks, Lizzie, recent incarnation of Potina, from whose name the words potable and potions descend!
Sentia-Goddess who oversaw children’s mental development.
     Well done, they are smart little monkeys.  Although in their teen aged years they could not always be considered sentient beings before about 2pm on a Saturday or Sunday.
Statanus-God in charge of a child’s first step.  And by association with the word stature, presumably with  growth to full height.
     They are all over six foot tall now, and with beards.  It’s like ZZ Top.
Several Gods shared the duty of watching over children when they leave the home of their parents.  Statanus, his wife Statina (probably with a tear in her eye), the Goddess Abeona…
     Yeah, we will miss them too.
Oh, and there are also several Goddesses that supervise the kids coming back again, Adeona and Domiduca.
     Ladies, do I have your complete attention?  Good.  Appreciate your services for safe journeys on Christmas and Thanksgiving.  But that whole living on the sofa thing?  Don’t call us, we’ll call you!