I am not too keen on baby showers. I don't like to play games of melting candy bars in diapers or who can guess the circumference of the belly with a strand of yarn. Not really my thing. And I feel really uncomfortable as the center of attention and asking guests to bring gifts. And so I was kind of opposed when my sister-in-law said she wanted to throw me a shower.
What I had in mind, rather, was a blessingway. Something more sacred and spiritual that honored the passage into motherhood in a more meaningful way. I'd also read about traditions in other cultures that just seemed, I dunno... better in tune with how beautiful this transition time is. But those ideas didn't really pan out because I don't have any hippie dippie girlfriends nearby to hold that sort of thing for me. (I would like to work on that!)
So I reluctantly said yes to my sister-in-law's shower idea, and we agreed to an eco-friendly event (real dishes, gifts wrapped in swaddling blankets, asking for gently used where possible, etc) with just family invited.
As we got closer to the date, I started thinking more about the idea of a shower, and trying to take a step back from my preconceived notions. Maybe I was being too hard on this american tradition. Maybe it could be good and have heart. And most of all: maybe I needed to soften here...
I mentioned these thoughts to a cousin during Christmas and she said: "Do it, sister. It's your time to be honored. Everyone takes a turn when they are pregnant and they like giving back when it's someone else's time."
And that cracked my heart open to the idea.
So Sunday was the shower, and all I felt was grateful that these women in my family were willing to circle around me and come out in the cold to be there. That they wanted to celebrate and welcome this baby with me. And that they had taken time to decorate and set up this event just for the new one on the way. That giving in itself is sacred.
We did play a few games -- drawing and writing games mostly -- and they made me laugh. And we ate together and heard baby stories, listened to everyone's best motherly advice, and I didn't even feel uncomfortable opening gifts in front of everyone. Colin also came to the event because, ahem, he had something to do with this baby too. (Why do the dads get left out so much?!) And he'd written something to our baby that he read aloud. Everyone was in tears.
So this shower turned out to blow my assumptions out of the water. Things really are what you make of them. And having a grateful mindset can make any seemingly uber-traditional thing bloom with heart and spirit.
Thank you to everyone in my family for coming. And a very special thank you to Katie and Kathy and Lauren for hosting. You guys are wonderful. :)