I hadn’t been to a baby shower in years.

The last one I attended several years ago was so over the top I remember praying I’d not be invited to another in a very long time.

The gifts were numerous — as in a mountain of presents, some gigantic in size, that took the poor pregnant woman hours to unwrap as we women watched the clock and yawned. Mothers, aunts, grandmothers, cousins and multiple friends oohed and ahhed over all the baby paraphernalia, much of which I hadn’t a clue about.

By the time the party was over, the guest of honor looked as if she might give birth right then and there.

But the shower I attended Feb. 9 was sweet, with just a handful of women in addition to the mother and father-to-be.

The hostess provided a nice lunch and surprised us with a couple of games, one where we were asked to count the number of chocolate candy kisses in a jar and the person who came closest won the jar. I guessed 108; the winner got it right at 116.

We were each given a ticket with a number when we walked through the door. The hostess drew the number five, and I won a gift bag containing body lotion, perfume and hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works.

The baby gifts, many of which were pink because the mother is having a girl, were practical and colorful — a high chair, crib, lots of clothes, blankets and other baby things. Then a pretty cake was served.

It’s funny how events like that can take you back. I remembered attending a baby shower with my mother when I was about 10, and all the women and girls were seated in a circle while the mom-to-be was perched in a big chair decorated with crepe paper.

My grandmother and two great aunts were there, dressed impeccably in their nicest clothes, and we were served punch, petit fours, finger sandwiches and fudge. Everyone was polite and respectful. The gifts were mostly baby outfits and cloth diapers, blankets, booties, bottles and hand-knit sweaters.

In those days, no one knew whether the mother was having a girl or a boy, so many of the gifts were white, yellow, gray or green.

I was all eyes, soaking in every detail, from the design on the wallpaper to the chatter about babies — burping and bathing, teething and tantrums. It was all very grown up and foreign to me, the youngest of seven children who was naive about such things.

I remarked to my sister at the recent baby shower that we are as old now as our great aunts were then, and did the young women sitting next to us regard us as that ancient? Were we dressed like old ladies?

One of the refreshing things about being around young parents-to-be is seeing their sense of hope and anticipation for the future. Their whole lives are ahead of them, and oh, the lessons they will learn, the heartbreaks they no doubt will encounter, the joy they will feel.

One doesn’t want to warn them of what may be in store, good or bad. Life will take care of that, and experience.

And then they will find themselves the elders in the room, smiling, nodding and offering encouragement without judgment.

When it rains, it pours.

A mere week after the recent baby shower, I’ll be attending another, this time for a young woman who’s having a boy.

I expect there’ll be a lot of blue floating about, but it won’t be the figurative kind.

With all the darkness assaulting our world, the promise of new life portends light, love and laughter.

A good reminder that really, all we have is each other.

And that’s all that really matters.


Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 31 years. Her columns appear here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.

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