Yesterday, I helped host a family shower for my son’s fiance. I admit that I was a bit nervous about the whole thing, because I really love the young woman my son is marrying and wanted to throw her a nice shower to welcome her into our family. My daughter, who also helped host the shower, wanted to do a champagne brunch, so we booked a room in a nearby restaurant for the event, ordered some petite fours and cake pops from a local bakery to serve, and in general, did all the things that one does when planning a bridal shower. Still, I was just a little bit on edge, wondering if everything would go well and being more than a little bit afraid that something would inevitably go wrong. Little Mary Sunshine, that’s me.
But I am happy to say that everything went just fine. The restaurant staff was very professional, setting up the room the way we wanted it and serving delicious food. We had a nice turn-out, and everyone seemed to have a good time. As is the tradition, at the end of the shower, the bride-to-be opened her gifts while we all watched. She got some terrific presents and seemed very happy with all of them, which was a wonderful thing to see.
Still, while I was watching my future daughter-in-law open her gifts, I found my mind wandering a bit. I kept looking around the room at all the people who were there, and realizing how much I appreciated each of them being there. Each and every person in that room made the effort to take time out of their busy weekend to come to this shower, showing their support for the newest addition to our family. And their presence was a gift.
My sister helped host and provided the beautiful flowers for the shower. My mother offered assistance in any way that was needed, and helped us set up the room. My sisters-in-law from Iowa not only came a great distance to attend the shower, they showed up early to help us get ready and stayed late to help clean up afterwards. My sister-in-law from downstate, her two daughters and her granddaughter, all came to help us celebrate and show their support.
Family friends came, some of whom I have known for my entire life. Friends I met when I was just a baby and friends I met when I was newly-married and childless were all there, knowing how important this shower was to me and my family. The youngest attendee was the seven-week old granddaughter of a dear family friend, and that baby represented the fourth generation in the friendship between our two families. It doesn’t get much more special than that.
Yes, the bride-to-be received many terrific gifts at this shower, and that’s as it should be. It was her day, and she handled it with grace and style, just as I knew she would. But as I looked around the room yesterday and took in all the people who were there, the friends and family who showed up to offer their support and to welcome the newest member of our family, and to meet her lovely mother and grandmother, I couldn’t help but realize that my son’s fiance wasn’t the only one who was receiving gifts.
True, the love and support of family and friends is not a gift that I could open. But it was a gift nonetheless, and one that I will remember and appreciate for a very, very, long time.