The Skype Baby Shower

I didn't want to participate when my mother suggested a Skype baby shower for my brother and his fiancee. I thought it was stupid, hands down. I figured that since they were living so far away and we couldn't swing the shower, we would just send gifts... which is a polite way to say that I thought I was off the hook for the shower thing.

The thing about showers is that they are, well, by nature, a little hard for me to get through. It's not that I'm not happy about the expecting mother's bundle of joy--I am. It's just that showers, as a concept, are difficult if they aren't done right. There are good ones and bad ones and a Skype shower sounds like the dregs of forced interactions.

So I didn't RSVP. I told my brother's fiancee that I wasn't coming months in advance when first the idea came about. But when my mother pleaded with me to go, I just couldn't say no--especially since both my mother in law and sister in law were going. It would really make me look like a bad family member. I resigned myself to going and signed up to make the blue donuts for the party favors.

Blue donuts in hand, I arrived early, put together the party favors, and helped my mom set out everything. The bloody mary didn't hurt, either. And then my brother's fiancee's family arrived. I don't know what I was expecting; maybe I thought just her dad and brother would be coming. But it was the whole lot of them-- her grandmother, her aunts and uncles, her brother, her dad, and her dad's girlfriend.

They brought deviled eggs, and amish breads, and sodas. They brought tiny tarts and lunch meats and cheese and rolls. They brought a lot of love with them right through the door, and then it hit me that these people were becoming my family as soon as that baby was born. And with that thought lingering in the air, we all sat down in front of my mother's television, which she had fitted to Skype.

When they came up on the screen, there was barely a dry eye in the room. My brother's fiancee had a big belly and the two of them looked so happy when they saw the big lot of their families smiling back at them. My mom made a video of them as children and we all watched it together. Since we had all sent our gifts down ahead of time, we watched as they opened each one, and my brother kept a list for thank you notes. Then they gave us a Skype tour of their home. Then we each got a moment to talk with them via Skype. It was the first time I had seen--actually seen--my brother in over a year. Even I was surprised at how much emotion I felt at seeing them and being a part of their baby shower.

It was an amazing baby shower, and a truly innovative idea. There we all were--my family and my soon to be sister in law's family--united under one roof, celebrating like they were there because they practically were. We got to be a part of it. I had thought it so silly, but I realized that it was really special that we had the ability to have a shower with them. It made them feel so not alone all far away.

It's entirely astounding what the computer can do. Technology has a propensity to divide people and make us tune out behind screens, but this day, it brought two families together to become one and share in the joy of a new baby boy. If you live far away from a loved one who is having a baby, this is the perfect way to use Skype to be a part of their special occasion, and I highly recommend it. It's just another way, with the help of technology, that big old world can become a little smaller. 

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