When I got married, I had a lot of expectations about how people would celebrate with us. I guess I hoped people would do what I would do when invited the wedding–attend the wedding if possible, but regardless of attending, pick out a nice card and send a gift. I used to think that this was just what people do. As it turns out, it’s what some people do, but others do not. This resulted in a lot of hurt feelings that I had to deal with in the months after. I had to tell myself that it wasn’t an indicator of how people felt about our friendship or my marriage. But still, it hurt. 

Fast forward to a few months ago when two good out-of-town friends said that they wanted to throw us a baby shower. Part of me felt extremely guilty about it. They wanted to travel to throw us a shower? It seemed too generous. But eventually I just moved to a place of deep gratitude that my friends would show up for me in this special way and tried to make it as easy on them as possible by not being demanding about any of the details. I just asked that the shower be a fun time and for the love of God, please have alcohol available to those who aren’t pregnant. 

With a baby shower (usually) comes a baby registry. My husband and I were clueless, so we turned to the good folks at Lucie’s List and the Amazon reviewers to guide our choices about car seats, strollers, and other baby gear. We opted for some high-ticket items, figuring we’d purchase them ourselves after the shower with the nice 15% Amazon Mom discount. But a few days ago when I went to send the registry link to a family member, I noticed that most of our big items weren’t showing up anymore. Like our two strollers. And our pack-and-play. And our fancy swing. And our baby monitor. 

Wait a sec. That meant all of these things had been purchased? Someone actually bought us these things? 

Suddenly I was filled with this overwhelming feeling of support and love. Never had it occurred to me that people would actually be able to, much less want to purchase these things for us and for our daughter. I guess I was too worried about being disappointed that I unfairly lowered my expectations about my family and friends.

For me having a shower is about more than baby gear, as nice as it is. It’s more about our community of support coming together and telling us, “We are so excited for you, and we want to participate in your new life as parents.”

What a tremendous, unexpected gift.