Family Traditions: Happy Bappy Days

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The Wingert Family in 2009 visiting the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado. Front row from left to right: Gail Wingert and Jon Wingert. Back Row: Emily, Rose, Charlie and Matt.

For as long as I can remember, my family has celebrated the days my siblings and I were baptized. The day of our baptism is fondly referred to as our “Happy Bappy Day.”

Unlike most people who do not know the day they got baptized, my three siblings and I know the exact date as every year, without fail, my parents make sure it is celebrated. 

The concept behind the celebration is very basic and easy: the celebrant gets to pick what dessert they want for dinner. Whether it was wildberry pie, ice cream cake or vanilla pudding, my mother made it happen every year.

Therefore, every Oct. 21, I was asked by my mother what I wanted for dessert. No matter what I requested, it was served after dinner, ready to eat. Some years, she would ask a couple days in advance. Other years, she forgot until the day of, and we had to scramble to produce the desired treat. 

Matt, my older brother, often asked for scotcheroos, which are rice krispy treats mixed with butterscotch chocolate chips with chocolate overtop. My sister, Emily, would ask for chocolate cream puffs every year without fail. The youngest, Charlie, liked to request tubs of his favorite ice cream. 

I, however, skipped around going from cream puffs to ice cream to cupcakes. The only thing I loved was sugar; my dad passed down his massive sweet tooth. Thanks, Dad. 

As a kid, I merely remember being allowed to choose a dessert because it was an important day, but as I grew up, I realized the importance it held for my parents and myself. 

Baptism is the first holy sacrament we received as Catholics, and it wiped away our original sin. My parents wanted to celebrate our first major part of being Catholic and remind us of the cleansing of original sin from our souls. 

Although my older siblings were at my baptism, the only sibling I saw get baptized was my younger brother, and I don’t remember a lot — just the upsetting fact that they wouldn’t let me walk around the altar while it was happening. 

I think our Happy Bappy Days grew out of my parents’ desire to help me and my siblings remember the importance of our baptisms. 

It was also a beautiful time for making family memories. My siblings and I always looked forward to eating each other’s selected dessert, even when things went slightly awry.

One dessert that sticks out is the time I was helping my mom make cream puffs for my sister’s Happy Bappy Day when I was 10 years old. The cream would not stiffen! We tried for over 45 minutes until we laughed it off and just ate some very liquidy cream puffs. 

During sophomore year of high school, my family waited until I returned from dance at 9:30p.m. so that we could eat angel food cake with strawberries for my Happy Bappy Day. 

My parents truly tried to find little ways to celebrate their four kids, and celebrating the day of baptism was perfect to remind each of us that we were special. 

Now even when we are in college, they have continued to celebrate our Happy Bappy Days. Last year, my parents sent Tiff’s Treats for my Happy Bappy Day which just happened to correlate with midterms. 

It was a rough week that had been filled with tests, due dates and quite a few tears. The reminder that my parents were there for me and that I needed to celebrate myself and the beauty of my joining the Catholic faith was a much needed break. 

My parents have always been there for me, and to have this quirky little tradition as part of my life is amazing. I know my family will continue to celebrate what might seem like an insignificant day to others, but for us, it is a time for celebration and laughter. 

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