There’s a Woody Allen quote that reads something like this, “Ninety percent of life is just showing up.” I never paid the quote much attention until recently. My sisters are throwing me a baby shower in a few weeks to welcome my little one into the world. I‘m very excited to experience this rite of passage into mommyhood. A few weeks back I provided my sisters with a list of people to invite, and after compiling the names and addresses of high school, college and grad school friends, and relatives, I had quite a list. But I suspected probably half, if not more, of the people on the list wouldn’t be able to make it for one reason or another. Some of the relatives winter in Florida, and wouldn’t be able to make it back to the cold of Michigan for a February shower (who can blame them)! Others have as recently as two weeks ago given birth to their own new additions and would not be able to travel away from home. So I mentally prepared for a small but intimate shower.
But what surprised me, and what brings me back to Mr. Allen’s quote, is the number of people who are coming from far away, who are driving in the snow to spend a few hours “oohing” and “ahhing” over gifts with me in what is probably the umpteenth baby shower they’ve been to in their lives. My cousin is driving in from South Bend, Ind. Some of my closest college friends are driving in from Chicago and one even from D.C.! I was also pleasantly surprised that a very new friend of mine, who I am just getting to know, is planning to give up her Saturday afternoon to munch on finger sandwiches with a bunch of people she doesn’t know in order to celebrate with me.
I am so touched that these people are traveling all this way, and I am reminded why I was attracted to them as friends in the first place.
This isn’t the first time in the recent past that Mr. Allen’s quote has rung true. My dearly loved grandma passed away on December 8. Her funeral fell on the morning of Michigan’s worst snow storm of the season and possibly recent years. The road conditions were terrible. Schools were canceled. Cars were digging themselves out of ditches all over metro Detroit. And as can be imagined, attendance at my grandma’s funeral was low. But just as I was about to sit down for the service, I caught a glimpse of a familiar face in the church. A good friend of mine from high school who I had e-mailed about my grandma’s passing weathered the snow to be there as we said good bye to grandma. Again, I was touched by the simple gesture of someone simply showing up.
I know there will be times when I can’t show up for something important in a friend’s life, but having been so moved by the attendance of others at my own special life events, I will make my best effort.