Monday, January 12, 2009

A Bowl Full of Wishes

On January 10, my mom hosted a wonderful baby shower for me at my house. In many ways, this shower was similar to many baby showers I have attended in the past.

A pretty table, yummy food and drinks, lots of chatting amongst the women in attendance, and plenty of oohing and aahing over the ADORABLE baby clothes and gear.

I was the happiest girl in the world that three VERY special out-of-town guests were able to join us. Granny Sharp (Brian's grandma, and baby Peterson's great-grandmother) has been in town since the previous weekend from Costa Mesa, CA, and my aunt Cathy and cousin Casey flew in for the weekend from Tampa, FL.

It meant so much to me to have them all join me on this very special day!

We were also thrilled to have Casey's artistic talents available. Mom had decided she wanted to make me a diaper cake...which are usually made out of disposable diapers. But knowing my wishes to cloth diaper baby Peterson; she, Casey, and Cathy managed to make a diaper cake out of cloth diapers!! Look how beautiful it is! It made a great centerpiece for the table.
The guests started arriving around 2 p.m. and I was so excited to see all the women from different parts of my life. Family and extended family, neighbors, an old college buddy, a childhood friend, the women in my bookclub, a friend from work, and some of my mom's closest friends, many whom have known me my entire life! I felt so lucky to have all these amazing women in one place.

Brian and my brother Adam even stuck around for a while to visit with everyone. (before heading across the street to drink beer and watch football...)

My friend Amanda was so sweet to offer to bring a cake to the shower. She coordinated everything with my mom, but wouldn't tell me anything about this surprise. Well, I was definitely surprised when I saw the cake!

Luckily I was not involved in the decapitating process...

As I talked to my mom about this shower, I told her that I wanted it to be a little different. I yearned for a meaningful, genuine gathering of the most important women in my life. In order to facilitate that goal, my mom included the following request in the shower invitations she sent to my friends and family.

Birth Beads are a modern day way to honor the expectant mother. When taken to the birthing experience, they symbolize the support, strength, and positive energy of those who gifted them. They carry with them energy and power. They can be used as a visual and tactile focal point during labor and held for strength and endurance during the birth process
Please bring (or send) a small trinket or bead that symbolizes your w
ish for Rachel and baby in labor and birth.

(These beads will be used to make a necklace for Rachel to wear during labor)

I had no idea how amazing this ritual would turn out to be. After some visiting and munchies, we all sat down in my living room, and starting with my Aunt Cathy, everyone in the circle explained the bead or trinket they had brought with them, and then expressed their wish for me and/or for my baby. Needless to say, we were all in tears before Cathy was done and the tears kept right on flowing until Susie finished.

I was so overwhelmed by the thoughtful, kind, funny, and empowering messages that were offered. Every single person there said something that was so meaningful and representative of my relationship with them. As I reflected on the shower later, I initially wished that I had recorded what everyone said so I'd always be able to remember their wishes and share them with my daughter. However, in retrospect, I realize that's not really the point. The feelings of love and support I got from those moments are what will last. I truly believe that during the most difficult parts of labor and new motherhood, I will draw on those wishes and prayers and blessings to give me strength. And Brian knows to remind me during labor about all the amazing women who gathered in my home to send me on my way to motherhood and to use their power and love to give me strength when I need it most.

I received so many beautiful, thoughtful, and useful gifts at this baby shower. We're so lucky to have such generous people in our lives who have provided us with almost all the baby gear and clothes we'll need. However, the best gifts I have received in preparing for Baby Peterson's arrival are the words that were spoken by all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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