The Gift

My cousin was kind enough to post links to my baby registries on her Facebook and MySpace pages on my behalf, since I feel the same way about them as I do about wedding registries–you don’t issue demands for gifts without solicitation. I’ve read that for things like baby showers it is acceptable to print the registry info on the invitation, whereas for weddings doing so is a major faux pas. My understanding is that this is acceptable because the guest of honor is not the issuer of the invitations, the host of the shower is, and therefore the recipient is not blatantly soliciting gifts without prompt and not guilty of the etiquette breach. This is the reasoning I used to justify printing my sister’s registry information on her baby shower invitations, even though it was simply because the socially acceptable “word of mouth” method wasn’t possible–I was the host, living 500 miles away and arranging the party via email, and all my family live fairly close to one another in southern Maine. There was simply not a more efficient way to do it.

At any rate, if I sound defensive, I have cause. It’s a minor paranoid tic of mine; having been accused of rudeness and off-putting behavior once or forty times and totally failing to realize how my behavior could have been considered offensive until afterward, I try to avoid social blunders where I can. Anyway, she posted the links and I did my due dilligence by updating and refining the lists. But I was a little saddened by the wording: “because she will not be having a family shower…”

It’s not about the gifts. My sister has entire boxes of goodies to send to me; we’ll be well-stocked with supplies when the time comes. There’s a Walmart and a specialty baby store three miles from here; we can buy whatever we don’t have. It’s not about the “stuff.” My neighbor has generously offered to throw me a shower, which should be fun.

I’ve always pushed to live in new places and see new things, and I’m glad to be in Hawaii now. If only because I saw how difficult it is to go out with a baby in winter, I’m very glad to be in Hawaii. But while I may be pregnant again, this is the only time I’ll ever get to be a first-time mom. And there’s nothing my family loves more than a squishy-faced baby, unless it’s the squishy-faced lady carrying it. What struck me about my sister’s pregnancy was how it was very much a process of her being welcomed and taken into the mommy club; in a way, it was her initiation. I’m just a little sad that while people are equally excited for us as they have been for everyone who came before, we don’t get to physically be there to share in the excitement. Given my almost fanatical insistence on personal space, I’m shocked to find I’m a little upset about the prospect that only Tom and perhaps my coworkers will be grabbing at my belly and getting excited about feeling kicks. Erika and I won’t get to set up my nursery and exclaim over the incredible quality of both new and hand-me-down baby clothes.

We did this to ourselves, and coming down to brass tacks, I’m not at all sorry that we moved out here. It’s just that sometimes I wish it were easier to visit. Now if you’ll excuse me, we did just buy a cosleeper crib, and damn if I’m not weepy and emotional and nesting. I have sheets to fold!

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