When I was 8 or 9, my mum was looking for godparents for me. The task would be huge whoever the candidate would be. That person must be equipped with so much patience. I was trouble with a capital T, terrible, stubborn but also very sensitive after my father’s brutal departure.
On the search to find the right candidate, my mum considered her sister and my favourite auntie. She is the 2nd eldest and the only one wealthy in the family. I liked her because she was always spoiling me and my sister whenever we went to Portugal on holiday. Also, she was always so elegant and she is very beautiful. Her wealth and lifestyle sadly made it impossible for her to be my god mother. For one, she is always in between Portugal and Guinea-Bissau. Despite how close I felt with her, and loved my cousin so much, she was just too busy with her businesses and her 4 children. My mum sensed I needed someone always available for me. My auntie politely declined, despite she was already the godmother of her best friend’s daughter. She said at the time, although I am not your godmother, in my heart I am. I didn’t really understand it. All I knew was that with my baptism looming ever closer, we needed to find a godmother for me and fast.
In a way, it was a mixed feeling I had, I was sad and yet relieved she wasn’t my godmother. I came down to realise I need a godmother often available for me. I simply needed stability after my dad’s departure which I still didn’t recover from 2 years on.
I even prayed for my mum to find someone suitable for the role.
Then, my mum found her.
My mum back then worked in a clinic and usually spends time with Portuguese workers as she often felt left out and experienced constant racism from patients and colleagues. SO she befriended this lovely woman called Maria, like my sister. The more my mum and her spoke, the subject of our search for godparents came in their conversation. She accepted without any hesitation without even knowing me. My prayers were answered. I was ecstatic. So we set a date to meet up and we met around her area. I was so happy to see her with her husband and their 3 children. Her son, the eldest was called Ricardo, just like my dad. I felt as if this was all meant to be. Even though Maria and Ricardo are typical Portuguese names, I still felt that I was meant to meet them and make that family part of my life. In return, they made me part of their family. I finally got the stability I craved for the past 2 years.
Before the preparation of the baptism, I used to go often to my soon to be godmother’s house. She used to spoil me so rotten with presents and/or treats. Every Christmas, birthdays, Easter, she would always get me presents or even asked me to pick what I wanted. Her house became my 2nd house as I started to go there so often. She always made me feel so welcome and part of the family. I felt fully accepted and she never once made me feel different based on my colour and origins.
She has always been there for me, as I shall reveal soon how she showed me so much love and support through the tough and difficult period I was yet to face. Gradually, she got to know me, and I couldn’t really hide how terrible I actually was. Despite it all, she accepted it and loved me fully for the person I was despite being terrible. Of course I caused mischiefs with her, but unlike everyone else, she never shouted at me nor raised her hands at me. She just spoke to me and just showed me so much love, patience and care, especially when I needed it the most. I have no idea how she didn’t tell my mum she wouldn’t be my godmother any longer. Any people would have simply walked away.
Even after the baptism, our connection was stronger than ever. Life in Switzerland wasn’t easy still. But it was made more bearable thanks to her and her family. We would go to Portugal and meet the rest of her family in the northern region of Portugal (Lamego).
I feel like even talking about her, it isn’t real and godmothers like her are only in movies.
Since I have left Geneva to move to London, she left shortly after to relocate back to Portugal. We are still in touch to this day. When I go to her region, with my sister and our kids, we obviously stand out because in that rural part, there aren’t really any black nor mixed raced people living there. But my godmother, while walking around the village tells her neighbours and friends I am her goddaughter. She is more than my godmother and more than a fairy godmother, she is a family member.
As a tribute to my godfather who has loved me so much and supported me like a father (still does to this day), I have given my daughter second name Fernanda as he’s called Fernando. My son second name Ricardo, is a tribute to my father and my godmother’s son too.