I didn’t want to go.
I despise everything that’s too commercial, the look-n-feel of plastic toys, the overload of stuff that will be used only a couple of times before getting trashed.
I’m not confortable in a room full of people, people I don’t know, and people I do know (which is even harder sometimes as I’m supposed to be able to engage in a proper conversation with them).
The noise, the decorum, the small talk: I’m not good at it. It’s a big and conscious practice for me, on a daily basis.
I hate having to give away a beautiful Saturday afternoon, having to ride in a car and sit in an ugly room decorated with balloons and kitsch tinsels.
It was my first real baby shower, and I just didn’t get it. What was it all about? I mean, a whole party just to receive gifts and save some money? Really?
I was in a shitty mood, and my sister had to put up with it (sorry, sis).
Because despite all that, a part of me did want to go. Two of my friends lost their grandma this week, and I wanted to hold mine in my arms tight.
So I went, reluctantly.
It wasn’t what I expected.
First, my aunt and cousins have great taste. It wasn’t kitsch at all.
We were not stuck in a confined room, but outside, enjoying the sunny day. The only tinsel there was was a beautiful home-made decorated one with the name of the little boy to come, hanging on an old wooden window my uncle had saved from a previous renovation project. There were candies and popcorn and a very delicious cake.
Plus my cousin isn’t cheap. She invested to keep us well-hydrated and well-fed, providing mini-burgers and chicken wings and plenty to drink. It made me feel a little less like it wasn’t only about the gifts, and a little more about celebrating the soon-to-come new member in our family. Everybody was happy to be there, having a good time.
So why did my shitty mood persisted well beyond the first 15 minutes?
It was as if I had to play the embittered celibate around all those kids and moms. Seeing all my cousin’s friends and their kids, picturing their day before, them having to rush through the morning, get the kids ready, clean the house a bit, get the gift, run to the party, made me question why you would ever want to put yourself in that sticky situation? Why the hell do we make kids? Isn’t the most useless thing in the world?
Hearing one mom comment as her gift was being unwrapped: ” You just give it to the baby and then you finally get a few minutes of peace.”
You had peace all along, why did you ever gave it up in the first place?!
That’s me in a stupid, rational, nihilist mood. Because you don’t make kids for any logical reason.
You make kids exactly for all these reasons. You make kids because they disturb your peace. Because it’s boring without them. Because youth is vibrant, because it makes you feel alive.
You make kids because you love your grandparents, your parents, your aunt and uncle and cousins, your sisters and brothers, and you just want more and more of this unique and special kind of love, the unconditional one.
You make kids because you are God, playing hide-and-seek, getting bored and finding ways to make it a little bit more tricky to burn this karma of yours.
That’s why you make kids. And when you decide to take the leap, to jump off the cliff towards parenthood, you need a little help. You want to make sure following your gut feeling and strong desire to bring more love to this world is not the insane move your mind tells you it is.
So you gather all the people you love in a room on a sunny Saturday afternoon to ask for their support, on the physical plan but mostly on the emotional plan. Under the Fisher Price games and the mustard baby wrap carrier, you want to make sure you are held by a loving community.
It used to take a village to raise a kid. Nowadays, removed from this sense of being part of a group all year long, the baby shower is the first flag we plant to show the world there’s an upcoming village, one we are virtually creating around the new soul we’re about to welcome.