Our third child didn’t get a baby shower. Not because historically it’s improper in the book of manners, but because I just didn’t think my heart could handle it. The last time I had been pregnant with a boy, my friends gathered around me as we ate chocolate and vegetables and artichoke dip, all the while cooing over adorable blue polka dot blankets and all things tender and tiny. It had been almost four years since I had first become a mom, and with that bit of experience, this time around was a bit sweeter and much more relaxing. With almost four years of practice under my belt, this was going to be a lot easier, a piece of cake. I more or less knew how to prepare and what to expect.
I had let my guard down and was burned. That wasn’t going to happen this time.
My friend recently posted how she had taken almost 1000 pictures of her nephew’s birth, and prior to that, she shared pictures of the shower she hosted for her sister, a celebration of the anticipation of their third child.
I am not one to weep over regrets, but my heart sunk a little. Why hadn’t I allowed the many who offered to host me a baby shower just do what their hearts wanted to do? Receiving help is difficult for me. Pride gets in the way of receiving, because I am a damn strong woman and can do a hell of a lot on my own. However, I’ve found over time how strength is beautiful in numbers, how relying on God and others is not weakness shown but rather confidence revealed. Real trust, to the core…an ability to recognize most great masterpieces are made up of more than one color, a brick is solely a brick on its own, and a tree will never grow if the seed isn’t ever planted.
No orchestra is made up on solely one instrument.
No orchestra is made up on solely one instrument.
And only now, after just having loosely celebrated Ryan’s 3rd birthday (Em was sick, he didn’t know it was his birthday or what that meant, really, and Jason and I were just home from Spain), am I able to understand it wasn’t out of guilt or feeling sorry for me that my friends, old and new, wanted to host me a shower.
I realize now that a shower is to celebrate the anticipation of the little life about to enter the world, an opportunity to celebrate the woman carrying that life, the waiting parents, and a space for everyone to rejoice.
There is a time for everything under the sun. Pregnancy and the anticipation of a child is a time of celebration. Only when news otherwise is relayed should the celebration turn into mourning.
There is a time for everything under the sun.
We don’t skip bridal showers because we think the poor couple won’t last past the infamous 7-year itch. We don’t forgo weddings for the same reason. There is no guarantee, on any given day, we will all make it to the 89 year old mark, so should we all skip cake and ice cream, all the years leading up to our day? There is no guarantee, only hope and hard work, if our marriages will, indeed, continue happily ever after. Just because a woman is pregnant does not mean the baby inside of her is meant for this side of Heaven.
And just because my heart was raw, carrying another son in my womb, unsure of the days to come, jaded a bit from loving and losing, doesn’t mean I should have denied my family and friends the opportunity to anticipate and celebrate the life growing in me and the arrival of our newest family member.
I’m not saying it was right or wrong to deny my friends and family a chance to host a shower for me years ago. What I am saying is, in my selfish attempt to protect my heart from further heartache and disappointment, I shut down and didn’t even allow those who loved me to show their love faithfully as they had in the past. They had celebrated with us, and also mourned when it was time.
Birthdays, showers, anniversaries, holidays. All of these celebrations, though marked with loss and memories, no matter how distant, are indeed, celebrations.
I'm not sure why I'm writing this 4 years from when my friends offered to throw me a shower, but I felt strongly to share my heart. Maybe you are fearful to celebrate the anticipation of a child on the way, perhaps you have had adoptions fall through and it's scary to let your head and heart go there again. Maybe fear is gripping you as you allow your heart to fall deeply in love again after the loss of a spouse? I don't know.
I do know for several months I was fearful Ryan would die, just like his big brother. And I had really, really, really, really, really fallen in love with Noah. But I knew Noah was dying, and at the same time, I knew he deserved all my love and I loved him with all of my mommy heart. I don't live in fear anymore that Ryan is going to die like his brother. He will die. I don't know when. God knows the number of our days. I do know this, however...I have jumped in with both feet in loving Ryan. The ache and grief of losing his brother does not hang over me as I flip his curls through my fingers, rub noses, snuggle in our favorite chair while reading, and play choo-choo's in the basement. I'm in love and it feels really amazing.
Every Single Day is a celebration of the lives around us, even our very own. Is there someone in your life who needs celebrating today?
The only loss in loving is to look back and realize we never gave it our all.