may showers.

The lady next to me was talking about great it was that they finally had places in Clayton where you could host a nice event like a baby shower. I nodded and smiled, since I don't live in Clayton, nor do I end up hosting very many nice events. She asked me how I knew the new mother, and I said I'd met her at Governor's School. The lady was familiar with Governor's School, and she remarked how she was glad that they'd gotten their state funding back. The woman on the other side of me asked if I knew a friend of hers who had gone the same year as I went. She described him to me, and I smiled and shook my head, explaining that there were 400 kids there and it happened thirteen years ago. She nodded, then told me that he had a goatee.

Thankfully, we played a nursery rhyme game next. And then there was food. Someone mentioned that the baby's father was down the street at a coffee shop (good for you, Clayton), along with a couple of other husbands. And then someone else said that it had been a while since she'd gone to a ladies only shower, and most of the ones she'd been to lately had been co-ed. I was agog. I had never been to a co-ed shower, unless you count the ones that occurred at church, where the men sat off to the side after the potluck and ignored all the actual shower activity. Does having men there make it better? Or are we just dragging them into the misery, ha ha ha, now you sit here and admire a series of blankets, oh aren't they soft. I would have added alcohol before I added men.

A pair of helpers lined up the gifts next to where the mother-to-be was sitting. Aside from being seventh months pregnant, she also had recently broken her ankle, which is some combination of misery that I cannot even imagine. I think I'd be pretty whiny if it were me. My gift bag, sparkly where all the others were soothing, sat at the very end of the queue, right before the grand finale in a giant box wrapped with paper covered with baby monkeys. (Spoiler alert: It was a pack n' play).

As the parade of presents began, a feeling of dread began growing somewhere near where my chicken salad croissant was mingling with a rosemary pear scone. Each package revealed onesies, bottles, diapers, receiving blankets, etc. I was shocked to realize that everyone had given her stuff that was, you know, baby stuff. Everyone cooed at the cuteness and the softness of it all, while I wondered if I could sneak out before she got to my present.

So. You're probably not surprised to find that I did not consult the registry when shopping for this shower. I didn't even look at it, though I did buy a gift card to a store where she was registered. But that was the end of my attempt to follow the rules. Instead, I'm afraid that I went shopping in my house. In the sparkly bag were four things:

  • The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook - I'd recently found a hardback copy, so this was my old copy, which my friend had admired. She collects cookbooks, and this one is especially fun.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - in one volume, with the original illustrations and everything. A very nice book. Turns out we had four copies of it in the house, and I figured everyone likes Alice. She had already received a copy of some kind of version for babies, which basically consisted of pictures illustrating colors (white rabbit, black shoes, etc). The person who gave it to her made sure to point out that it was not the scary version, by which she meant the actual children's classic.
  • A Wand - bought at an estate sale a couple years ago, this was an officially licensed Harry Potter product. It came in a beautiful box, wrapped with maroon gossamer and set in velvet. Okay, sure, it is just a knobby stick. But when my friend told me she was pregnant, she said it was due at the end of July and referenced the prophecy in the books about the son born in the close of the seventh month. If you don't want dorky gifts, don't make dorky jokes, I guess.
  • A card - signed by both me and Josh. In fact, Josh wrote a poem. A few weeks ago, we had our first big married fight about writing thank you cards. He said he would do some, and then he just never did, and I kinda lost my cool about it. But the morning before the shower, I handed him the card and told him to write them something, like ready set POEM, and he just did it. Lesson learned, I guess. ANYWAY, the card was very nice and it contained the aforementioned gift card.

My ability to gauge this stuff is way off, but it truly did not occur to me that our gift was unorthodox until I sat through all the orthodoxy. I give used gifts all the time, and yes, some of the things I give away were things that were technically mine. I did not buy them for the purpose of giving them to the specific recipient, though I may have bought it because I figured that someone would want it someday, and on that day, I would be prepared. But sometimes, I bought them for me, but later decided I no longer needed. That doesn't mean they're not awesome, right?

No, it was fine. People were intrigued and amused when my gifts were held up for public viewing, and I think I managed to play it like I had not belatedly realized giving a pointed stick to an unborn child was in any way inappropriate. If you are going to buck social mores, you really have to own it. And my friend, the only one who really matters, understands me and Josh and would not want us to be any other way.

And actually, it was a lovely shower. Social occasions just make me grumpy. The food was very good, and the shop, right there in Clayton, was quite nice. The whole shindig was a group effort, put forth by various female family members. It is obvious that this baby is going to be surrounded by love, and as long as someone keeps the wand away from him until he's older, he'll probably turn out fine.

No comments: