Monday, October 12, 2009

a tale of two showers

Asher is a lucky boy to be born into such a wonderful circle of family and friends. I know I'm grateful to be part of such a circle.

I've had two baby showers over the last two weeks--both intimate, meaningful events. My friend Nancy organized a shower/mother's blessing at her home on the 4th; she and the other women assembled treated me like such a queen, washing my hands and feet with rosewater, brushing my hair, massaging my neck, singing to me. Each woman presented me with either a poem or story or blessing; each woman also brought a bead which we strung together to make a necklace that I'll wear in labor so I can feel a circle of women supporting me through the experience. My mom chose a bead with a large hole in the center, saying that it would help me visualize dilating "10 meters"--we all had a good laugh imagining that (and hey, it can't hurt to visualize opening that wide. Michael joked later that Asher would come sailing out in a tug boat!) The women also each brought a candle which they'll light when I'm in labor. You can see everyone's hands on my belly here.

This past weekend, a family baby shower was part of a larger weekend celebration for my dad's 90th birthday. Relatives came in from all over the map; it was such a warm, loving weekend, full of connection and laughter and a reminder of how important it is to spend time as a tribe. It's been quite a while since all four of my dad's kids have been in the same place (along with cousins--some of whom showed up as a surprise--and other loved ones) and it felt so good, so right. We made a plan to get together on a yearly basis, just because, even if we don't have any major life events to mark. I want Asher to know all of these wonderful people and am eager to have this yearly gathering to look forward to; it makes me very happy that in the meanwhile, he'll get to enjoy clothes and books and toys and other goodies chosen for him by family members who are so eager to welcome him into the clan.

My dad (who, by the way, is probably the most amazing 90 year old you'll ever meet) talked about how family was a constant presence when he grew up in Chicago--he had tons of relatives within blocks of each other and they spent much of their time together. Now most of those relatives are gone; he is the second oldest of those who remain. I know he aches when he thinks about how scattered we now are geographically--how hard it is to all get together. When it does happen, though, it is such a deep joy. I found myself crying as I drove away from Oceanside last night; my life feels very quiet and small today. I keep reminding myself that the circle is still there--it's just wider, more expansive, than it was when we were all together. And the love at the center is just as strong.

1 comment:

  1. In Diane Ackerman's "Natural History of Love," she happens to mention the derivation of the word "shower"...apparently one creative mom in the 1890's for one of these parties had her daughter stand under a pretty parasol filled with light little presents wrapped in tissue paper, and the image so delighted readers that the ceremony was dubbed a "shower" ever since...