The Year of the Baby Shower

Once upon a time it was the year of the wedding; well, actually, twice upon a time it was the year of the wedding. There was the first go 'round, when I was about 20, and this was because my then-boyfriend (now husband) was considerably older than me and his friends were marrying. It was a little bit hard. I remember having this feeling of looking in on something I didn't understand. I also remember wanting to be a part of it, but not really understanding why.

The second round of marriages came when I was getting married myself, and so was my soon to be sister-in-law, and so was a close family friend. That was the most hectic one because it went May, June, July, and with my wedding being the one sandwiched in the middle, well, there was a ton of things to do. What I remember the most about both these times in my life, different as they were, was they had one distinct thing in common: they were expensive!I wasn't altogether sad to see them go, let's put it that way.

Funny then, that this year unexpectedly became the year of people I know expecting. This one, I didn't even see coming. Odd perhaps because the thing that follows weddings is, indeed, generally babies. For the first time in my whole life, I was invited to a baby shower. Then my brother announced that he and his girlfriend were also having baby. Another family friend also invited me to a shower, and then another girlfriend, who is having a girl, also invited me. That's four baby showers, in case you lost count (and it's only March, so I'm sure I've got more coming!)

I find myself once again in the position where I am the one watching everyone have their big moment in life, and wondering about my own. I am the outsider looking in on the lives of others who have chosen to make a big step in life, but this time, I am a little more skeptical of it instead of the one wishing desperately to be a part of it. And then Snookie announced she was pregnant....

...That one got me in the gut. If Snookie can do it, well then certainly I can too...right? Only I am not sure it's my time. So instead I order gifts from registries and I wrap them. I buy baby books, and I mark the dates on the calendar. I smile and I try my best to pretend that I understand what is going on because I really am excited for my friends. In reality I can't fathom how wonderful, scary, and altogether daunting it must be to sit amidst all those gifts and know that soon a whole new person is coming in your life. No, I can't wrap my head around it at all despite my wanting to be able to share those feelings.

This year of the baby shower is a lot different than the year of the weddings, I'll say that much. It's funny to watch your friends become parents and realize that you are the friend of someone who has children... like, you are that old. It's further astounding when they start talking, and a little boy who was once the size of a bean tells you over the phone, "I love you," like my friend Emily's son did a few weeks ago. I know that someday this child will be a teenager, and he will never remember a day when I wasn't in his life, but I will be able to think back to the day when I first met his mother, when she was just a young 20-something pulling up into our driveway with her then-boyfriend to come live with us on the farm; destined to become one of my very best friends.

And when I think of it this way, I tear up a little bit. The year of the baby shower makes me realize that I have come a long, far way in a few short years and that the world looks different through older lenses. For as skeptical as I may be about motherhood, I know it's coming for me someday and will swallow me whole. I will become another one of my friends with children and I will be fascinated by every word, every sound, every accomplishment my child makes. This year is just a glimpse of what is to come for us someday.... a glimpse into something we can't even venture to understand until we are there, standing with shaky footing on the precipice of parenthood.

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