My father’s cousin “Grace” was pregnant with her first child (a boy). Most of the younger women in her family were in their mid to late 20’s, and didn’t yet have children of their own. My mother, me (16 years old at the time) and my sisters (10 year old twins) were invited to her baby shower.
A couple weeks before the the shower, my mother and I went to the drug store to pick up our present. My mother explained to me that she had bought a nice blue laundry basket and we were going to fill it with special baby products because many new mothers didn’t realize all of the things babies might need (shampoos, creams, fragrance free laundry detergent, pack of diapers, etc.). She showed me the brand of products we were going to buy and told me that she had used these products on my siblings and I when we were babies so she knew they were good products. I’m sure she spend a considerable amount of money on that gift when all was said and done. My mum was really proud of her gift, I think she thought of it as an older woman passing a little piece of child-rearing advice to a younger woman. Even though I was a teenager at the time, I understood that these practical gifts would be more useful then a million cute outfits the baby would outgrow in a couple months.
We couldn’t find any gift wrap or bag large enough to cover the laundry basket, so we put a big bow on top instead. When we got to the shower we put the basket on the gift table, where it was shortly covered up by other presents when other guests began coming in.
Grace began opening her presents, helped by her cousin “Mary”. Eventually I could see our laundry basket peeking through the pile, and I couldn’t wait for Grace to see it and understand the work that had gone into getting the gift basket together. The laundry basket ended up being the last present on the table. Mary looked at it, picked it up and looked at it again. She asked the entire room (of at least 40 women) if “this was supposed to be a present?” in a confused voice. My mother, looking like she was about to melt into the floor, explained that it was from her and that it had useful baby products inside (this was an open-top laundry basket, so they could clearly see what was inside anyway). Mary hands the basket to Grace, who also looks incredibly confused about my mother’s gift and gives my mum a half-hearted thank you.
I don’t remember if there was a registry for the shower or not. If there was, I suppose getting an unexpected gift was the cause of the confusion. The only other explanation I have is that as Grace and Mary didn’t have any children yet, they did not understand how essential the items my mother had given Grace were and how much they could end up costing a new mommy.
That said, I don’t think there’s any excuse for making a guest EXPLAIN their present to you. If you don’t like your present, put on a nice smile, and be thankful that you have family and friends who are trying to celebrate your special occasion with you and want to help you out with a gift.
I should also note that other than this somewhat upsetting incident, Grace and Mary are great people overall and I like them both. You can’t choose your family so its best to put things behind you and move on. 0128-13
The Unexpected Shower Gift
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