I went to a baby shower yesterday. After the devastation of Daniel's death, I felt very strange and teary-eyed during the brief drive to the event. When I walked in, it felt a little like the Twilight Zone. There were a lot of young women there, some pregnant, some with babies. Then there were a number of women my age, the mothers of the young women and their friends. Also a few younger girls in their early teens, cousins of the expectant mom. I looked around, wondering how many of this assembly had known, or would know, tragedy in their lives.
First order of business: find someone to talk with. I sat down with a woman I've seen before but didn't know. This was good for the initial break-the-ice casual chit-chat. It started to move my mind to neutral ground. Then the hostess asked us to go to the buffet and get our food. Food is always a life-affirming thing, and it was a lovely selection of down-to-earth healthy foods. As we ate and chatted, I became more comfortable with being in the present.
Then came the inevitable party games, bringing laughter to everyone's lips, and encouraging interaction with people outside of your own age group. I usually consider these games an inane waste of time, but in this case it was a useful step in the healing process for me. Passing a pacifier to a stranger by way of a soda-straw in your mouth makes everyone feel equally awkward and giggly. For a brief moment of concentration on a useless but difficult task, you must step away from all other thoughts.
The dad-to-be arrived, and settled down with his wife for the happy chore of opening the gifts. It was actually a ridiculous assortment of gifts. About 80% of the gifts were books: baby books and children's books. I guess I was one of the very few who bought what the couple registered for. But it was cute to watch all the young women react to the books.... they were still very close to their childhood selves, and the mere sight of these books brought delight to them. My peers and I simply smiled at "Good Night Moon" from the OTHER side of the memories. My friend, the grandma-to-be, sat contentedly holding someone's baby. She looked so very happy.
I kept looking around at all the women, glad for the wide spectrum of ages. I felt a little bit of cynicism, but also felt strangely comforted by the camaraderie of this age-old rite. It was good to see the excitement on the face of the mother-to-be, and feel the happiness of her friends as they expect the best for her. Life goes on, new babies are born, mothers laugh and cry. We were all there to help send her on this new journey with hope and support. And we'll all be there if life hands her a loss. As a community we share each other's joys and sorrows. That's comforting.
10 hours ago