Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Celebrating Motherhood

Yesterday was a blending of cultures and customs as we focused on the one thing we all had in common – motherhood. The baby shower for Glenda and Lorena demonstrated the best of American generosity.

My attempt to give Glenda a familiar companion at the shower failed completely because her good friend Lorena went into labor last Friday and had her baby on my birthday, January 5. She had gone in for a check-up with a due date of January 15. But on Friday they simply kept her at the hospital, which solved the tricky problem of how to get there quickly with no car when in labor. Cynthia Yvette came into the world at 5 pounds and 19 inches.

But even without her friend, Glenda was willing to find out about this American thing called a “baby shower” on her own. As we drove into our neighborhood, she asked “You live in a house?” and seemed somewhat surprised since she and most of the people she knows here live in apartments.

The outpouring generosity of so many people resulted in a mound of presents stacked on and around the coffee table in our living room. We had a treasure trove of things from one neighbor’s daughter who has a beautiful boy and was now happy to part with the yellows and greens and many other unused baby toys and supplies. There were beautifully wrapped packages sent via UPS from one of my best Blog friends. There were packages from some who were at work. There were bilingual books donated by The Reading Connection. And there were even more gifts from those in attendance.

I had found a picture book of Guatemala so as an opener Glenda could show people where she came from and talk about the bright colors that are so typical of her native country.

No shower is complete without a couple of silly games. LR so wisely chose games that didn’t require a lot of language or writing skills. She paired us up for the first which was to look at a picture and find the 9 things wrong – like a high chair on rockers, a pot with 2 handles. My partner and I actually won but didn’t know it because we couldn’t count.

The second game had everyone explain the origin of her name. I found it interesting to hear about my neighbors’ names that I have used all these years, never knowing how they came about. By this time my good friend from Guatemala and her daughter had arrived. She related how they had simply made up the daughter’s name to honor various relatives. Glenda said her father had picked her name and she had never liked it. I was reminded that I had been named for the reigning Miss American in 1949, as were so many other Barbaras who are now in their late 50's.

Then Glenda unwrapped all those beautiful presents and passed them around for everyone to see. Meanwhile KM skillfully designed a paper plate hat with all the bows from the gifts.

Glenda’s baby is going to be one very well dressed little girl. It made me realize how much I love baby clothes. Every little outfit was just adorable and soft and cuddly.

There were lots of books and toys as well. And diapers in multiple sizes and wipes. And gift cards to spend at Target. WOW-WOW-WOW is all I can say about all those presents.

There was a comparable pile set aside for Lorena who was home mothering her 3-day-old baby.

Then we ate all that sugary food that is so essential at a baby shower. The majority of those in attendance are on Weight-Watchers, so they counted up lots of points as they downed frosting-laden cake, hand-made and decorated sugar cookies, and pink punch. The cookies were in the shape of little hands and feet and were decorated with admirable baby attributes – cute, feliz, musical, etc.

The biggest challenge was getting all those gifts into my car so I could deliver Lorena’s and take Glenda home.

We spent a few minutes ooh-in and ahh-ing over little Cynthia, who is an absolutely beautiful tiny baby with perfectly clear skin. Lorena looked on in amazement as we filled half her family’s living room floor.

Then I took a very weary, very pregnant Glenda home. Her mother and stepfather came out to help her carry everything inside. They are obviously hard-working people who are making their way in their new country and are completely supportive of their daughter. They all said “Muchisimas gracias” as we exchanged Adios.

I had worried that it might be awkward blending our cultures, but everyone came with open hearts and smiles. That’s about all it takes to make something like this work. My heartfelt thanks to all those people who contributed to the success of the baby shower, including my husband who made the punch and then promptly disappeared and LR, our neighborhood photographer!


Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

beautiful cookies, Barbara!

Looks like you had a great party!

We had a staff member announce to the other teachers that she is expecting! LIFE! It is all around us!

6:33 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kelly -- I must give full credit for the adorable cookies to my friend KC who is a baking genius! LR and I did some of the decorating, but KC masterminded the cookie-making.

Not only did they look pretty, but they tasted good enough to melt in your mouth!

6:39 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

what a wonderful account - almost but not quite as good as being there. I would like to send something - any chance you can email me your address?

7:18 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Such a fabulous thing you've done here and I just know it was appreciated so very much. I love the cookies in shape of hands and feet!

This was a heartwarming story as is the person who posted it!

8:42 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

I almost feel like I was there- wish I was! Sounds like a wonderful time and Wow look at all those gifts. Lorena nd Glenda are two lucky Mothers indeed.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- If you didn't receive my address, just let me know. Thanks so much!

MOI -- Wish you could have joined us!

Gewels -- You were there in spirit! I'll send you a great photo of Glenda opening your box with all those cute clothes in it.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I seem to be unable to use what I thought was your e-mail address. Please send me a message at and I will reply with my address!

10:16 PM  

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