Archive for January, 2009

Baby showers and meaningful gestures

January 29, 2009

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.

Advertisements

Baby bump or goodwill ambassador?

January 28, 2009

Is it me, or is it the year of the baby? It seems every fourth person I know  either recently had or soon will have a baby–myself included. I never expected that when I would one day get pregnant that I’d be the only person going through this experience, but it seems an inordinate number of family members, co-workers, friends, old classmates, and acquaintances are on the baby track as I type.

And it’s amusing to me how much those of us experiencing mommyhood can talk about it! Two strangers who have never met before, and who would never otherwise strike up a conversation, see each other’s baby bump, and the floodgates of conversation open. Two classmates who haven’t talked since high school, and even then were only mild acquaintances, discover via Facebook that they’re both expecting and begin conversing regularly.

And this phenomenon is by no means limited to expectant moms only. I was at the gym two nights ago and had two friendly ladies approach me to inquire about my pregnancy. When was I due? What was I having? Was I uncomfortable?  Then I learned about their respective pregnancies and the accompanying  ups and downs. It’s as if this baby bump is a goodwill ambassador of sorts. People who don’t even know me want to discuss personal issues like constipation and labor pain, and strangely, I want to discuss them too.

It’s the community of mommies, or maybe just the community of humanity. My random conversations with strangers are by no means limited to members of the female gender. Many men see the bump and smile or nod their approval (the exception being some young men who see the bump and tend to recoil in fear)!

What is it about carrying a new member of the human race in your uterus that provokes kindness and a willingness to befriend a stranger or old friend? Why do two mommies-to-be find they can talk for hours about things they already know from all the books on what to expect? Why has someone (me) who is normally quiet and reserved become such a chatterbox when asked about my unborn daughter?

Perhaps it all goes back to the circle of life. Today’s newborns are tomorrow’s senior center volunteers. Today’s toddlers are tomorrow’s President Obama. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s innovators. Perhaps. And perhaps that is why we can’t help but express our excitement while they’re still in the womb. We have so much anticipation for what wonderful gifts–both big and small–these little humans will bring to our lives even if they’re not our own children.

That makes me hopeful for the future and optimistic about the world in which my daughter will live.

What I know for sure….so far

January 8, 2009

On the last page of every issue of Oprah’s magazine is her regular column, “What I know for sure.” Since I don’t subscribe, I usually catch the column in airport gift shops as I’m trying to kill time before my flight departs. The one-page commentary on what Oprah knows to be true usually proves to be much more entertaining than hanging out at the gate watching the status board as your flight gets delayed for the umpteenth time.

Since discovering I was pregnant late last summer, I’ve come to know a few things for sure about pregnancy, and since I’m such a fan of Oprah’s column by this name, I thought I’d write one of my own.

What I know for sure about pregnancy (so far)…

  • Morning sickness may never strike in the morning (6:30 p.m. on the dot for me).
  • You may experience an insatiable thirst that only Minute Made® pink lemonade or Crystal Light® raspberry lemonade can quench.
  • You may feel the need to head for the ladies room only seconds after you’ve returned from that very place.
  • You will be told that you’re “getting big,” “huge,” or “showing a lot.” The bearer of such tidings either is either male, childless or your “adorable” four-year-old niece.
  • You will make a minor error at home or on the job that normally wouldn’t be worth mentioning, but now will be attributed by others as “pregnancy brain.”
  • You will hear how others don’t like the name you’ve picked for your unborn child because they know someone by that name who’s either a) a stripper b) dead or c) their middle school nemesis.  (Note to self: next time around, keep proposed names quiet until after delivery. People won’t comment nearly as much on a name already printed on the birth certificate.)
  • There will come a point in your pregnancy when you laugh or cough and–yep–a little bit of pee comes out.

Moms and moms-to-be of the world, what do you know for sure?

Mommy-to-be meets blog

January 8, 2009

Welcome! This is the first post on my new mommy blog. Yes, I’ve joined the ranks of what seems like countless other moms to share my parenting experiences with the blogosphere. But I am not new to blogging. A whopping five to 10 of you have already gone inside my head via my (A)musings blog, which will continue to live alongside this new forum for sharing my thoughts with the world.

I am a soon-to-be a first-time mom. Baby Girl Blue is due March 26. That means as of tomorrow, I will be 11 weeks out from D-Day (aka my due date). None of it has seemed real thus far, but that has started to change. The other day, either my daughter punched me hard or did some some sort of acrobatic stunt in utero that jolted me upright. There is most definitely a creature in there, and I am going to be her mom, which is sort of a scary thought.

Mom is the angel who raised me and my three sisters with what appeared (to me anyway) to be sheer ease. She always said and did the right thing and continues to do that for her four adult children even to this day. She worked full-time while managing to wrangle us all in and be a devoted wife, daughter to her own mother and friend to her many pals. I’m too immature, selfish and impatient to be anything like her. But I will try. One thing I commit to doing (as my mom did for me) is to put surprise notes and occasional treats in my daughter’s lunch bag so she’ll find them mid-day and know she’s  loved a lot.

It is here on this blog that I’ll chronicle bits of my pursuit to be like my mom to my daughter.

Wish me luck!