showered with love
Grandchildren are always exciting and a blessing, even more so when it’s the first in a family and doubly so when it’s the first on both sides of the family. And thus we find ourselves at the pinnacle of firsts. Though we would have liked to have a co-ed baby shower, as was the custom among our group of friends in Nairobi, it seemed a bit dicey to wait until D came back to the States, a little less than three weeks before the estimated due date, to hold a party. Instead S’s mom and sister and D’s sister planned a spectacular ladies-only Sunday brunch shower the weekend S returned home.
While S’s friends reside all over the United States, both sides of our immediate family live in the Northeast. Even so, it took some thinking to come up with a location and venue to hold the shower that wouldn’t require people – other than S’s parents and sister – to drive more than 3 hours. S’s sister gets the credit for finding a small, cozy B&B in sleepy Suffield, Connecticut to convene.
S flew in to New York on Thursday evening, spent the night at her aunt’s in Brooklyn, and had a rather chatty drive up to Connecticut on Friday with her aunt and grandmother. S’s parents got in not long after, but S’s sister did not turn up until the middle of the night, arriving on a delayed flight from Chicago while S slumbered away in hopes of curbing the inevitable jet lag.
S spent most of Saturday in the town where she grew up with a childhood friend and her son, while S’s sister toiled away decorating cookies for the party at our long-ago next-door neighbors’. Words cannot describe the wash of memories that flooded over S as she drove around her hometown, which she hadn’t visited in nearly a decade. In need of some sisterly quality time, the family split up for the evening, freeing up S and her sister to have dinner and watch a friend’s dance performance in the hippie haven of Northampton, Massachusetts.
By the time Sunday morning rolled around for the rest of the family, S had been up for several hours, the jet lag rousing her with the first glimmers of sunlight, which gave her ample time to get ready and help clear and decorate the downstairs space. Family and friends began trickling in around 10:30 and the oohing, aahing, and photo snapping commenced. Brunch was served, and after everyone was thoroughly stuffed with delicious homemade quiche, French toast, fruit salad, and hot coco, the real fun began.
S implored her sister-in-law, who was in charge of the games, to skip the overly embarrassing and disgusting shower activities – a request that she thankfully heeded. She split the attendees into teams for the Baby Animal Name Game, keeping a watchful eye for less than scrupulous behavior, and even coming close to accusing one of our grandmas of cheating.
Then she moved onto Daddy Knows Best, which tested S’s ability to guess what D would have answered in response to various baby-related questions. The surprise came when D’s sister revealed his response on how long we might wait before having a second baby. As presents were unwrapped, the guests decorated bibs that will surely come in handy for all the drool and spit-up in our future.
Finally, D’s sister passed around our baby photos (care of our moms) and had everyone guessing which one of us did what as a child. It seems that our moms received different instructions for this game. While D’s mom shared factoids of which she was clearly proud — that he had memorized the entire alphabet by age 3, skipped two grades in school, and would not accept candy from strangers — S’s mom went the embarrassing route, divulging details about how S would eat sand from a sandbox, how she loved to play in the trash, and that she had such a healthy appetite that she would ask strangers for food.
The party broke up by late afternoon, but this time everyone meant it when they said ‘see you soon.’ As she’ll spend approximately 3 months stateside, S is looking forward to seeing much more of her family and friends in the coming months than our itinerant lifestyle usually allows.