Blessed are the shower hostesses, for theirs is the kingdom of sweet petit fours and punch. Whether it’s for a baby or bride, showers aren’t completely disappearing, but they are definitely taking a hit.
Friends once showered the honoree with gifts, advice, well wishes and foamy sherbet punch in tiny silver cups. Older ladies beamed remembering their newlywed days and young ladies discussed what they would wear to the wedding. Close relatives never hosted, because that was seen as a crass way of asking for gifts for one of “their own.” Your mother’s friends from the club graciously served as hostesses, or the ladies from church strung crepe paper streamers in the fellowship hall.
I wish I could remember where it was (I’m sure someone will help me), but one small town hosted “Coke parties.” The bridal gifts were displayed on tables covered with white tablecloths, and icy cold little glass bottles of Coca-Cola were served to sip as you perused the gifts. ladies would marvel over toasters, crystal water pitchers, photo frames and the chop-o-matic, dice-o-matic and blend-a-whirl.
I can remember attending the baby shower for my brother. I felt very grown up to be included. Back then, new mothers were showered after the baby arrived. Probably because we had no way of knowing the gender of the baby ahead of time, so they waited to shop for pink or blue, and knowing the name, they could appropriately monogram things. The baby was placed in a bassinet for the ladies to tickle and pass around like a precious gift, and everyone got to snuggle and kiss him. Someone baked a cake shaped like a lamb and covered it in fluffy coconut. I was in heaven helping my mother unwrap the pile of gifts tied with blue ribbons.
Matilda Mae moved to a city where no one throws showers. She told us, “we just go online and click on the item they’ve requested, and it’s delivered straight to their house.” If you are out of town, I can understand the practicality of that option, but missing out on white paper packages tied up with string and silly party games is a shame.
Thank goodness, I live in a place that still loves to throw showers. It’s a sign that civility and charm haven’t completely left us in the rearview mirror. I’m tickled when I get to attend a shower where baby booties top the cake or wedding bells dangle over the doorway. Making the effort to cut pimento cheese sandwiches into tiny triangles, polish Aunt Sadie’s dish to fill with pillow mints and pick a bouquet from the yard for the table are simple tasks that bring joy to the world for all the baby boys and girls.
Encouraging young couples to love one another and hoping and planning for new babies are signs this world is not descending into an eternal heap of ill-mannered doom (I kind of thought we were going that way for a while).
Showers are a way of reaffirming that even though the world may seem troubled, life goes on and we should celebrate the hopes and dreams of new families. But gender reveal parties? That’s a topic for another day.