The baby shower

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a baby shower. In fact, the last one I attended might well have been the one given for my daughter-in-utero and me a little over 17 years ago. My life is in a different stage right now, the pause between my generation having children and our children having them.

So it was both an honor and something of a novelty to be invited, with my friend and fellow alto Linda, to a baby shower given for Kate, a talented young soprano who sang – beautifully – in our church choir. She left us in order to be able to go to church with her husband, and it’s hard to argue with that.

The shower was given by Kate’s sister-in-law Rachel, in Rachel’s mother’s big made-for-entertaining house a few miles west of here, and held outdoors on a beautiful made-for-entertaining day. The women, creative in ways that would never occur to me (nor be within my capacity to execute if they did), had transformed house and garden in fine baby-celebratory style.

Kate was well and generously showered by friends and family, and it was instructive to see how some gadgets have evolved and others stayed essentially the same. (The latest generation of cloth diapers, multi-layered and colorful: very cool.)

The baby is coming at a somewhat awkward time; Kate’s husband Kevin is still in law school, and she works in a field not noted for overgenerous compensation. They’ve moved in with her mother, to be near their families and caregivers, but their little house has yet to sell in a difficult market, and both job and school are a long commute away.  It must surely be a strain.

But babies (note: the first lesson of parenting) seldom do anything on our particular schedules, and this is a family solidly grounded in faith and rooted in caritas. However awkward the timing might be, this is a child who will be swaddled in love and embraced by a large, close cast of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and friends, a child who will grow up with parents who are committed to their faith.

My prayer for them is that they may have a sense of joy, but know that weariness is normal; to have a sense of calm, but understand that it’s okay to lose it completely from time to time; to realize that all the mistakes they will inevitably make have been made many, many times before, and usually without lasting trauma; and to walk on in the light of God’s deep love, whatever comes their way.

– Sarah Bryan Miller

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