I took my godson Toby, then in his early teens, and his wonderful mum Caroline out for lunch and we had a lovely time. He was polite and well-mannered, and allowed us oldies to witter on with no sign of boredom. Yes, we must do it again, we said, but we never did. One of her friends sacked her of godmother privileges after realizing how different they had become from when she was first assigned the role file image.
When Will was young, we regularly met up, but she was so desperate for grown-up time, she always left him with the au pair.
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By four months. The transformation from bright graduate girl-about-town to Stepford wife and helicopter mother was quite terrifying. Our last meeting was 12 years ago when she invited me down for the weekend. Tertius was five years old, but she was still breastfeeding.
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She had taken to doing a little light charity work one day a week. The former sent bottles of vintage wine on Christmas and birthdays, so that by the time Tertius was 21, he would have a proper wine cellar.
She was horrified that my boyfriend was a builder and that I was volunteering in a dog rescue centre in Tooting. We lost contact after that and, to our mutual relief, I was quietly sacked from my godmotherly duties. You might well wonder why someone like me was ever asked to become a godmother five times.
Back in the Nineties, I was social, out and about hobnobbing with the jeunesse doree. I was always organising dinner parties for well-connected friends and was a mainstay of charity balls.
I was the sort of person who might introduce a godchild to helpful people, so they could get on in life. Julia says her own godparents were rarely involved in her childhood file image. I suspect there was also the hopeful assumption that a comfortably-off childless godmother might lavish the little one with gifts, gold and downpayments for a starter flat — perhaps even an inheritance in the godmotherly will. Sorry, kids, but all my dosh is going to the dogs — literally. I feel even more inadequate when I discuss the godparent conundrum with friends.
Another, Jane, 56, takes her goddaughter on a swanky holiday every year. Other godmothers I know report a degree of disillusionment. This year, she was asking for an iPhone, a laptop and a supply of Frette bedlinen. Interestingly, godfathers of my acquaintance do absolutely nothing and feel no guilt about it.
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