In June, my daughter Kate and her husband are expecting their first baby, whom they’ve been told is a girl. She will be our first grandchild.
Before the pandemic, we had planned to have a baby shower for her on April 4. The theme was going to be “stars and clouds.” We would serve little meatballs, Rice Krispies Treats, and chocolate-covered strawberries, some of Kate’s favorites.
One of her best friends was planning the shower, which was to be held at our house, since we have enough space. When we planned it, the pandemic was happening far away, in China, and on a cruise ship docked in Japan.
Then someone in Colorado got sick. We were sent home from our respective workplaces. After one of our weekly dinners together, Kate asked her father and me if we were still comfortable having the shower at our house. We said, “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Then our governor declared a state of emergency. We talked about rescheduling the shower, or just having it online. She didn’t want to do it online. And if we rescheduled it, when would be a safe date to have it? We couldn’t begin to guess.
Then the governor told us all to stay at home. We decided that we should just cancel the shower for now. Kate emailed her friends and family members to tell them not to come. I felt deep sadness that I couldn’t even hug her to console her because she lives in Fort Collins, and I live in Longmont.
We decided to stop having our weekly dinners together as well. We found out that my husband and I may not be able to be with her in the hospital when she goes into labor. Now, we’re hoping that we can at least see the baby after she arrives.
The day of the canceled shower came. I texted Kate and asked her if she’d like to Skype. She did. I was ready to console her on a disappointing day.
Instead, I saw her face full of anticipation and purpose. She said that a couple of friends had just come by with boxes of baby clothes that their daughter had outgrown. And a baby swing!
They came on Saturday because they knew it was the day of the canceled shower. She said they chatted in the driveway for a few minutes, observing social distancing, and left the boxes.
She lifted each onesie and outfit to the screen for me to see, one by one, and stacked them by size: preemie, newborn, and 0-3 months. Her favorite was a lavender-colored footed sleeper with tiny white hearts and a panda emblazoned on it with the words, “Daddy’s girl.”
My favorite was a bright purple onesie with layers of purple, pink, and blue ruffles across the midsection. This show-and-tell lasted a good 15 minutes.
We had a baby shower, after all.
Annette Reitinger is a composition instructor at Front Range Community College who lives in Longmont.