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Baby Shower StorkSurprise Shower For My Sister

By Sirena Van Schaik

As the crowd of people crammed themselves into the small apartment living room, I cringed inwardly at the lack of space that I had to offer my guests.  None of them seemed to mind in the least as they waited excitedly for my sister to walk through the front door.  My mother had buzzed up only a few moments earlier.  My sister, completely unaware, had expected me to be at her apartment since I was in town visiting.  She didn’t suspect a thing.

I looked around the room at the streamers that hung across the ceiling in a crisscross pattern and the brightly multi-colored balloons that created the centerpiece on the ceiling.  My gaze paused at the other balloons floating restlessly in the breeze coming through the sliding doors, trying to escape the ribbon that I had tied them up with.  baby shower invitationThe room looked like a child’s birthday, right down to the “Welcome Baby” banner that I had attached over the sliding doors so my sister could see it as she entered.

I sighed inwardly, worried that maybe this wasn’t what she was looking for when it came to her first baby shower.  Perhaps she wanted something more refined, more extravagant.  Perhaps the guests were looking around the room, searching for the small gift bags that we had forgotten to purchase for them.  If they were, they didn’t show it.  I think they were forgiving of a 15 year old girl and her attempts to co-host a baby shower with her mother.

The guests shifted in their seats and where they were standing as they heard the muffled voices of my sister and mother open the door.  I walked out into the hallway and acted like 20 people weren’t crammed into the small room behind me as I said, “How was shopping?”

My sister smiled at me, her red hair caught back into a half ponytail, her freckled face, usually perfectly covered with makeup, was clean and flushed from carrying the large basketball that had become her stomach up the stairs to her third floor apartment.  The pink coveralls that she was wearing accentuated the size of her belly and looked great with her pale freckled skin.  She moved towards me to give me a hug and I moved away from her, shuffling into the living room.

Just as we both entered the room, a loud “Surprise” filled the air and my sister stopped short.  Her face filled with embarrassment, and she bashfully looked away from everyone.  Tears glistened in her eyes and she laughed, “You guys, you didn’t need to do this.”

I looked around the room and saw emotion mirrored in each of the eyes of friends and family.  This was what a baby shower was about, not the hastily erected decorations or the platters of food that were waiting on the small dining room table.  It wasn’t about the presents or the forgotten gift bags; it was about family, about the emotions that tied us all together, made us family.  “You should have told me and I would have put on makeup,” my sister said and at those words the room erupted in laughter and the shower began.

We didn’t play any games or do the countless other things that you normally do at a shower, but no one was bored - we talked, we laughed and we reminisced.  It was a shower that everyone needed, not for the break of the everyday grind but as a way to finally see past the mourning that had been taking place in our family at that time.  Only 2 months earlier, my grandmother - my mother and aunt’s mom - had passed away.  baby shower diaper cakeHer presence was dearly missed and we talked about all the things that made her wonderful; her sense of humor, her smile, the way that she loved each of us.

And that was what I remember most about the shower. I remember the feeling that my grandmother was there with us celebrating this new life with us.  The looks on everyone’s faces confirmed that they had the same thought as me.  We knew that we had lost someone very important to us but life didn’t stop, it continued on and brought us more joys and fulfilled dreams.

This shower, the first shower that I had ever co-hosted was not only a celebration of life but a much needed event to celebrate my grandmother’s life and the fact that her spirit and her family will carry on in the baby that my sister carried. 

At the end of the shower, everyone left with a much lighter spirit, not mourning the loss of a loved one as much and overjoyed that a new loved one would soon be joining us.  For my sister, it was the perfect way to say, “Welcome Baby.”

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