About a year ago we started a short-lived ritual of walking our dogs during my family's morning recess break. During this ritual walk each school day (for however long we kept up with it) Rachel and I talked. We talked about religion, briefly visited politics, talked about the books we were reading, and shared childhood memories regarding various subjects that came up.
We also talked about infertility. My dear friend wanted to become a mother, and was having a hard time realizing that dream. I listened as she described what tests and procedures were coming up, I listened as she talked through how she felt about the results, I listened as she thought out loud through something I wished I could fix for her. I had suggested herbs in the very beginning of her struggle to conceive, but it had become apparent through the years that herbs weren't going to fix the issue. I watched her struggle to control her emotions after a round of fertility drugs; she'd wave it off and shrug, saying, "It's just the hormones." So much time and effort to bring into creation a child. Why wasn't it working?!?!
I prayed for her and her husband. My children prayed for one of their favorite people that she could be a mommy like she wanted. Our family prayed together, out loud, every morning and night, remembering her alongside our cousins and siblings. "Please, Heavenly Father, if it be thy will, allow Rachel and her husband to become parents."
I just got home from throwing my friend a baby shower.
She's due to give birth to a sweet little girl in June.
During those walks and talks I made up my mind, should God bless Rachel with a child, that I would throw the biggest, most beautiful baby shower I could muster in celebration of her impending motherhood. To work so hard for something deserved a huge to-do! As luck would have it, other ladies in our neighborhood wanted in on the fun as well, so we went all out.
And it was lovely, oh so lovely. The looks of delight on the ladies' faces as they carried their delicate cups of "tea," the "oohs" and "aahs" over the finger foods...it was pretty, it was refreshing, and it was just wonderful. I think I'll be pleased with how well this baby shower went for a long time. It was one of the nicest things I've seen in a while.
|I don't have a picture with the mom-to-be, but I do have this one with my fellow hostesses.|
|I told her that I needed a picture of her|
with all her swag, and she obliged me so fittingly.
I took pictures of everything. I knew I would write a blog post about this awesome party that I helped throw, and I wanted some beauty shots to accompany the play-by-play. But as I look through the photos, I'm disappointed because they don't capture the true beauty of the occasion.
Because what is beautiful about all this, after all the tea and finger foods are gone, is that we're celebrating a miracle. We've watched a heart-wrenching struggle turn into something so joyful that it makes our hearts hurt with happiness, like when you've smiled for too long and your cheeks ache.
We gathered together today to bask in the glory of our friend's answered prayer, to sit together as women and cheer on another one of us who will soon enter the ranks of motherhood. We thought of our own miracles at home; far, far away from the breakable china we balanced in our hands, while laughing at the realization that we celebrate the arrival of motherhood with delicate servingware and dainty foods when the realities of motherhood dictate that we eat PB&J and drink from plastic cups soon after we are initiated.
We hugged each other, placed hands upon each other's shoulders in concern, smiled, laughed, and nodded our understanding. We shared stories of our experiences--stories about our fears of motherhood, our disappointment with some of our parenting choices, amusement over what children say, gratitude for the help we receive and the lessons we've learned, and love for our families and friends. And amidst the clinking of tea cups upon saucers and tearing of wrapping paper, we shared one more thing: A quiet sense of excitement for Rachel. She got her wish, her prayer, her love: She's going to be a mother.
Which is one of the most beautiful things that this world has to offer.