10th chapter

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The hustle and bustle took over the apartment since the early morning. The guests kept arriving, and Viktor tried to welcome and serve all of them, as Nora prepared Jana and herself for the christening. Although most of the guests announced themselves coming either to the church or the lunch, a few of them who had to travel longer had arrived earlier. Their little apartment was soon crowded, and everyone, of course, wanted to see Jana. Nora retreated to the bedroom to breastfeed and get ready, but someone would keep coming in. Despite all of that, she decided not to stress over anything. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, and that was the most important thing today. Nora's and Viktor's parents were among the first to come so they could help prepare everything. With them, they brought jewelry for their granddaughter so she could have a memory of them and of this day.

Monika was helping, or rather, thought she was helping by welcoming everyone and introducing herself as Monika, Jana's godmother. Besides that, she did not do much.

*

- We met Monika, am I right? – Sofija interjected.

- Oh, that's right. I kind of forgot that you two were there – Nora said, motioning to Veronika and Sofija.

- Well, everything was a little bit hectic. We didn't even have a chance to talk properly. We were late to church, and couldn't really stay long for lunch – Veronika said, stopping herself mid-sentence.

- I remember this nerd researching who Saint Roch was because that was the name of the church. She discovered he was some plague guy.

- Patron saint of plague, Veronika. He was invoked against the plague; you get it?

- Yeah, yeah, that. I found it funny for some reason.

- Oh, my God, I remember that cake. It was some dark chocolate perversion – Sofija recalled and opened her eyes like a little kid who just saw a new toy.

- Now I regret not coming. If you still remember that cake, I can only imagine what it was like.

They all laughed at Ema's comment. She really did feel bad; she remembered that she had had an obligation that could not put off. At that time, they were not keeping up with each other that often, but they always assumed that for such occasions, they would come together.

- We planned that lunch at the last moment, but everything turned out great in the end. The place I wanted was already booked, so Vesna arranged a hotel very close to the church. I even managed to eat, thanks to my dad. Whenever I turned to see where Jana was, he was holding her in his arms or subtly trying to take her from someone else. I don't think I've ever seen him so happy.

*

The christening went great. Although Nora was not as religious as Viktor and his family were, she could see something beautiful in that ceremony. Adopting a child into a community of faith seemed like a pillar of support that her daughter can count on. Jana did not cry, but all the while, she curiously gazed at the priest, following his every movement. Dressed in a small white winter outfit, she resembled an angel. Monika was proud that they had chosen her as Jana's godmother. The feeling of knowing that she would always be this little girl's friend and someone who would always be by her side meant a lot to her. She loved Jana as her own, and it was an exceptional honor to hold her during the christening. There was a connection, which Monika could not describe, but she knew it would last forever. She would always be someone Jana can turn to. That was the promise she made in front of all of these people, and she was planning on keeping it.

Most of the guests left soon after lunch. Nora's parents were among the last ones to leave. Marija found it very hard to say goodbye every time they would have to get going. It was an extraordinary feeling - becoming a grandmother. You love your kids more than anything in the world, but when your baby has a baby, that is exceptional. Even though Marija and Stjepan would feel like they were leaving their own child every single time, Nora never felt like they were really gone. Everyone was giving her advice and ideas about doing something differently or better, but the only opinion that mattered was her mom's. Every time she would have a problem or a question, she would call her mom. And mom always had the answer. Nora hoped that one day she would be able to do the same for her Jana. She was grateful that Viktor's parents lived close by because she knew she could always count on them as well. All in all, she had an excellent team for raising a baby girl.

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