Days after D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) presented her baby to the world on the “Today” show, she publicly introduced the District’s first daughter to the city at a baptismal reception on Sunday.
Miranda Elizabeth Bowser was baptized at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Northeast Washington during the regularly scheduled morning Mass.
After services ended, the mayor walked out with her 4-month-old in her arms and with the parents of another newly baptized child in front of her.
With rain still coming down, Miranda’s nanny shielded the baby with a white blanket with her name embroidered on it.
“Everyone give Miranda a hand,” Bowser said as she walked toward the reception hall with a member of her security detail holding an umbrella for her.
A crowd of about 100 people, including well-wishers, friends and a who’s who of D.C. politics, applauded as the mayor entered with Miranda.
Bowser, who is 46 and single, announced that she adopted Miranda in May, but she hasn’t brought the child to campaign or public events or shared baby photos on social media.
The first public images of the baby came last week when the mayor sat down with “Today” host Hoda Kotb, who also adopted a child later in life, to discuss motherhood.
For those outside Bowser’s inner circle, this was the first time to meet the baby and snap photos on their cellphones. Many, many photos.
People surrounded Bowser with phones as she sat down at a table.
They gathered around her and posed for pictures with Miranda as Bowser moved to a chair in front of the reception hall stage, flanked by godfather Marvin Bowser (the mayor’s brother) and godmother Pia Moore (the mayor’s cousin). D.C. Council member Brandon T. Todd, a former Bowser aide who succeeded her in the Ward 4 council seat after she was elected mayor, also sat nearby as an honorary godparent.
It was a break from the occasionally bare-knuckled world of D.C. politics.
“We all like babies, and we all want to see the baby, and we all wish the baby the very, very best,” said council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large), who was among those seeing Miranda for the first time.
Other lawmakers who stopped by Sunday included Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Robert C. White Jr. (D-At Large), who brought his 2-year-old daughter Madison. There was former council chairman Linda Cropp and Ward 8 representative LaRuby May, as well as one of Bowser’s opponents in the 2014 mayoral race, Carol Schwartz.
There were top officials in the mayor’s administration, including her chief of staff, John Falcicchio (often the one taking photos), City Administrator Rashad M. Young and Police Chief Peter Newsham — out of uniform.
Bowser announced the reception on her public Facebook page and sent invitations to members of the D.C. Council, other city officials and elected advisory neighborhood commissioners. She asked for donations to the Greater D.C. Diaper Bank in lieu of gifts.
LaToya Foster, a spokeswoman for Bowser, said that no taxpayer money was spent on the baptism and that the mayor paid out of pocket for the invitations sent through Paperless Post. Foster said the mayor’s family and friends followed up invitations with phone calls, and city employees who were helping on Sunday did so voluntarily and off the clock.
As the crowd thinned, Miranda started to cry while she was sitting with her grandmother, Joan Bowser.
“Hey there, Snooks,” the mayor said as she walked over and picked up the baby. “You are such a good little Snooks.”
In one of the few moments where no one asked for photos, Bowser looked at her child and murmured, “I cannot believe it.”
Residents should not expect to keep seeing the baby with the mayor as Bowser runs for a second term in November or at official events, her spokeswoman said.
“After today, Miranda goes back to being a private citizen,” Foster said.