Well, I don’t have much in the way of pictures yet (my dad, who is a fabulous photographer, took them all – but he isn’t the best at sending digital copies!) so you’ll have to make do with my recounting of events.
And by my recounting, it was magical! My mom, sister in law, and friend E put the whole thing together with only a small amount of guidance: no gift opening (I really am not good at being the center of attention in this way), co-ed/no overtly girly heterosexist weirdness, no games that involved measuring my belly, books instead of cards. They took that and put together a really amazing event!
There was a wagon for books next to a shelf for gifts, all laid out for folks to enjoy looking through without the awkwardness of group opening. The food was all book themed – deviled eggs and ham (Green Eggs and Ham), crudite (Peter Rabbit), mini-meatballs (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), Cheese Plate (Stinky Cheese Man) – you get the drift. There were two tables of activities – one to make prayer flag bunting to be hung in the nursery (folks wrote prayers/thoughts/wishes on bunting flags) and another to write a card to Seafoam for a future birthday (they chose an age from a jar, then wrote a card of advice or thoughts for him at that age – we’ll keep them and give them to him on future birthdays!) These are the kind of activities introverts like me need at showers, and it felt very sweet. A few games too, but nothing big that put anyone on the spot.
In the middle of the shower, E gathered everyone around La and I and had folks (who she’d asked before the shower) share with us words of wisdom, wishes for us as a couple, treasures or trinkets or whatever they had to fill us up as parents (vs. celebrating a baby.) It was so so lovely, and left both of us sobbing (and quite a few other folks, too!) It really affirmed for me how special a community of friends and family we are gifted with.
Of course, nothing is every completely wonderful, is it? Towards the end of the party, I was sitting with some folks at the bunting table, and behind me I heard my mom talking to someone. She was talking about her dog, Belle, a great pyranees – and happened to mention that BFF (aka: our donor) also has a great pyr, who is my mom’s dog’s litter mate. No problem, right? Until she said, “well, BFF – the DAD – has a great pyr too.” I turned around and, louder and more aggressively than I intended said, “he’s NOT THE DAD.” She asked me, “well, what is he?” (as though we haven’t had this same conversation before) and I said, “he’s the DONOR, mom. Seafoam doesn’t have a dad.” It was awkward and left me feeling uncomfortable, but I let it drop. Then I found out that she had used that language with other folks throughout the day, and as a result, so had my cousin and aunt.
I know this is part of the struggle of negotiating things with a known donor, and especially a known donor who is a close friend and actively involved in our lives. But OMFG, why is it so hard for folks to understand that this language isn’t appropriate? How hurtful it is? I think my mom ‘gets it’ in terms of seeing La as a parent, but her continued use of ‘dad’ to refer to our donor makes me question if she actually does. It enrages me to have to continue to have these conversations, and to be worried about how this might impact our kid.
I did send an e-mail, to which I received a pretty short answer. I’m trying to let go of my need to take care of my mom’s feelings, and just believe that I told her what I needed to and she appears to have heard it. Time will tell, I guess.
Shit at work is gonna be haaaaaard. February might be the end of me. Send girl scout cookies
And here are two pictures – both post-shower.
A small sampling of the books we got, on the shelves La made out of gutters, with letters from my SIL! (and my ugly foot!)
La trying out the k’tan with little critter – you can see some of the book haul behind her