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"I hate baby showers," my best friend says with a theatrical
eye roll. "The stupid games, the
cupcakes, the presents everyone has to ooh and ahh over. It's so BORING. I'm
I nod because I get it. In the past 10 years, I've attended over two dozen baby showers,
including my own. They're all basically
the same and have a justifiably bad reputation for being saccharine get-togethers
where no one has fun, primarily because guests feel like hostages who are
served nothing but finger sandwiches and cookies shaped like baby booties.
Like everyone else, there are many things I could be doing
instead of attending the baby shower this weekend for a friend. But I RSVP'ed yes without hesitation, even
though I had to arrange childcare for my son and reschedule my daughter's piano
I agreed to attend even though I will have to get dressed up
on a Sunday afternoon and I'll probably come home hungry. I actually never considered saying no, even
though the guest of honor is not one of my closest friends. I have no doubt she would not hold a grudge
if I skipped the festivities.
I'll never forget how honored I felt to have my friends pledging to love and support me and my growing family. Every new mother deserves to have that feeling.
In other words, there was no real obligation to attend the
party. I could easily take a pass.
But I'd said yes because it's important to me that I show up
for other women. This showing up
obligation includes supporting the women who are entering a life phase that
already feels like old hat to me, the mom of a 7-year old. Now that I'm immersed in the stuff of older
kids, like reading and team sports, I hardly remember being pregnant with my
But I remember my baby shower. I keep a picture of that afternoon pinned to
a board above my desk. It was July 2008. My swollen face is ringed with the smiling
faces of the women who gave up a beautiful summer afternoon to gift my baby
onesies and board books. Yes, we had
cucumber sandwiches, spinach salad and sparkling lemonade. And I opened all my presents while everyone
looked on. I'll never forget how honored
I felt to have my friends pledging to love and support me and my growing
For me, it's both an honor and a privilege to attend these
gatherings. So I attend every single one,
unless I am out of town. It's how I pay
it forward to women whose rites of passage are just as important as mine.