There’s nothing quite like preparing for your only sister’s first baby shower. If I had to explain to an alien from outer space why we ritualize baby showers, I would not be able to leave out the way in which it somehow solidifies the status of motherhood which hovers around an expectant mother. Since she felt that first flutter deep in her body, the woman morphed from a female to “a mother”- that rich potpurri of love, patience, humility, and awe, that state of being that never stops becoming or changing. Knowing Carla’s relationship to her “self” will evolve and bloom as a result of her relationship to Isla- and they way in which Isla’s existence will change her relationship to the world we inhabit- makes me happy in one of those inarticulable, run-on sentence kind of ways.
It never hurts that some of Carla’s closest friends are both very creative, gifted, and “artsy” (for lack of a better word). Amy and Josalyn always bring along a few boxes of magic tricks, as well as aesthetic imaginations which can quickly create something from nothing more than a bundle of twigs and a few jars. From bridal shower to wedding to every little life moment, they have carefully crafted the moments out of love for Carla.
Josalyn’s burlap and home-grown eucalyptus seasoned the room as Amy’s handmade pottery and small pieces of art breathed life into unassuming corners. Max, Micah, and Milla spent parts of the week watercoloring scrap paper for the garland which we hung along the tables and for the ornaments we dangled from the branches of boughs generously donated by Jeremy.
Sweet potato and honey ham biscuits alongside goat cheese salads catered by F.I.G. and generously paid for by our mother, who makes any such event possible.
Something about gentlemen at a baby shower. albeit a couples shower in which they are specifically encouraged to attend, adds untold zest to the event.
Most guests chatted, laughed, got dizzy watching the kids run around the tables, and exchanged their own baby or birthing stories. Nowadays, fortunately, even the men have a little bit to contribute in such conversations. The totally clueless “I-don’t-know-the-birthing-is-HER-thing” man doesn’t speak up often. Or, if he does, he is politely humored.
Micah’s composition for her Auntie Carla impressed her mother. In her usual stealth manner, Micah created a masterpiece with colored pencils, glue, paper, and even a little pebble which she managed to glue to the paper.
Although the gift table was packed, this baby shower was not spent opening gifts. Instead, everyone ate, chatted, savored riesling, pinot grigio, punch made by Lydia, or delicious herbal tea made by Josalyn.
Watching the kids romp around the room, chasing each other, safe from the warnings of otherwise-unoccupied adults, brought back fond memories of the days when my parents threw parties and go so involved in their own conversations that no one really bothered to admonish us about glass, art, or the endless possibities of broken bones.
They hid under tables- only their little toes poking out- and slid behind heavy pieces of furniture, careful to make sure the littlest ones did not follow them into places of dubious safety.
Micah met a kindred spirit in Amarie. From their observant “shyness” to their post-waking moods, Micah and Amarie have always been similar in those ways which make them different from many of their peers.
I loved watching Micah come out of her shell around Amarie; she seemed to gather confidence or security from the way they interacted. It really does make a mother feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Max and Paul always hit it off as well- Max reminded me that “Paul is the best soccer player he knows”. They enjoyed being the “oldest” of the batch and designating the direction in which the minions would run.
How nice to be part of a life well-lived- a life teeming with people of all sorts, hands bent on creating and crafting, little people curious about every nook and cranny, a sister and a brother-in-law waiting for the way in which their lives will never be the same.
Josalyn, Carla, me, and Amy at the end of the evening.