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Think Again: Cherish the milestones

June 30, 2010|By Zanku Armenian

This past weekend was my son's baptism, which is an important moment for Armenian families, not just because of its religious significance, but also as a milestone where a new generation is welcomed into an extended family. It's a moment that imposes a pause in our busy lives and forces reflection.

In the case of Armenian families, part of the indirect but inherent reflection is about the long multigenerational road traveled that includes tragic experiences of families torn apart by genocide and survival for the lucky few, and then dispersion to multiple countries trying to get economically established to provide basic necessities and education for the young. Then the continued immigration to America and our deepening roots as multigenerational American families.

I used to be of the mind that when told I had to go to a baptism, I would roll my eyes with a big sigh and say, "Please, not another baptism." As I've gotten older (but not so old as to start saying "When I was your age…") I've come to look at these moments differently.

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These are the rare occasions when family and friends have the opportunity to come together, sometimes from far distances, to reconnect. It's an opportunity to reflect on our family history and bonds, remember the past and anticipate the exciting future for the coming generation.

In my son's case, Grandma Keghanoush, who is a schoolteacher in Glendale Unified, has set the bar high with the baby jumpsuit T-shirt she bought little Ari that says "Harvard, Class of 20??" on the front.

The baptism was conducted in St. Garabed Armenian Church in Hollywood, which is in Little Armenia. It's the church where Ari's great-grandmother first attended church upon arriving here many decades ago; it's where my wife and I were married; and now it's the church where he was been baptized, blocks away from the hospital where he was born. These are little details, but ones that create a family history.

We were very fortunate because, witnessing the baptism and the celebration afterward, we had four generations of family present from across the U.S. That is a rare moment in life, and the memories created will be appreciated even more in the future.

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