Been to a baby shower lately?  Maybe it’s just me, but what used to be fun has now become such an intricately planned, complicated, stressful and expensive event that my social antenna immediately goes on high alert whenever an invitation to one arrives on-line or in the mail.  Do I know the theme?  Where is the mother registered?  Will the father be included?  Is the baby a boy or a girl?  Can I spell the baby’s name correctly? These last two are important because baby shower gifts now come complete with optional monograms!

Do a “Google” search for “baby shower” and you will be overwhelmed with the lengths women are going to when hosting a shower.  These once joyful gatherings of women to encourage and support a mother-to-be have become extravaganzas of epic proportions. Invitations that rival those of any wedding, decorations that would take Martha Stewart and her entire staff a month to create and favors that sound like Christmas gifts have become standard fare. Also common place are activities requiring a television game show host to orchestrate and catering menus from the finest restaurants in town…with suitable wine.  Booze at a baby shower?

It was truly refreshing to have none of this insanity take place at a shower I recently attended in tiny-town Trenton, SC. There were no fancy invitations, no restrictive theme, no registry list, no over- the-top decorations, no grandiose and inappropriate favors, no gluten-free foods from four star restaurants and no mimosas or chardonnay!  This was a simple, elegant celebration of love and joy with no pretense.

We began as a circle of friends surrounding the mother-to-be.  Hugs, kisses and warm words of welcome filled the air.  Then, on cue, a number of the guests rose and gathered at a piano.  After a brief discussion with the piano player, they turned to face us and, with rich, clear voices poured blessings over the life of the mother-to-be and the life of her child through hymns and lullabies. The grace and beauty of that moment is one I will never forget.

Next came the opening of gifts. We “oohed”, “ahhed” and giggled as, one-by-one, the pile of  practical and sometimes curious gifts were opened.  At this gathering of women, I learned that a “Baby Boppy” is a pillow used to help position a baby when breastfeeding, that is also used to prop up baby for spoon feeding and can also be used for napping.

All the gifts were gratefully acknowledged and passed around the circle for each of us to see and touch.  The wrapping paper was saved to line the baby’s dresser drawers and no one wondered or even gave thought to the idea that the papers might clash with the designer motif of the nursery.

One gift was a bib with “Future President” written on it.  I held it up and the woman sitting to my right looked at the whimsical cloth and then, with a loud sigh exclaimed, “Oh, that’s a heavy load to bear.” In the brief silence of agreement that followed, I recalled the apostle Paul’s admonition that “…prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”  I Timothy 2:1

Homemade sweet and savory delights and a cup of punch ladled from a glass bowl adorned with a floating ring of strawberries encased in frozen lemonade and  fizzed with a bottle of ginger ale, completed the day.

I departed uplifted and refreshed, thankful for friends, babies-to-be and blessed once again by the simple things of life.

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