I went to a baby shower recently for the daughter of a friend of mine. My friend, The Grandmother, is anxiously awaiting her first grandchild. A multi-generational collection of women had gathered to shower the mother-to-be with mostly useless, but cute, teeny tiny baby thingees. At the unveiling of each precious little thing, everyone in the room would coo in unison, “Oooooh!” followed by chorus round of, “Isn’t that just adorable? That is just adorable! That is entirely too cute! Let me see that! Pass it around!”
As I sat there ooooh-ing and cooing and munching on gospel-prescribed baby shower fare (that would be white cake, punch, mixed nuts and pastel butter mints) I looked around the room and noticed that two separate and distinct worlds had convened in this one living room. And I was awkwardly straddling both.
On the one foot, I related to my friend, The Grandmother. We were close in age and shared a common obsession with HGTV. Our friends had names like Terry, Debbie, Linda and Cindy. On the other foot, I related to the younger gals who were just starting their families and worried about important issues like can Jen and Brad ever get back together? They had names like Ashley, Tiffany, Kelly and Brittney. We had pierced ears. They had pierced navels. What the older moms called diapers, the younger moms called burp cloths. We wore shirts that covered the area where our abs used to be. They had abs. I know this because I saw them when I was gawking at their navel rings. The younger moms named their babies after dead presidents — Kennedy, Tyler, Jackson, Madison, Taylor. The women my age had named their babies Ashley, Tiffany, Kelly and Brittney.
As I was eavesdropping on the younger mom’s conversation, I couldn’t help but overhear one of them talk about going to the mall on the way home from the hospital after having her baby. I presume to return some of the many cute-but-useless things she had gotten at her shower. I, on the other hand, did not take my baby out in public until he was four-months-old and then I kept him covered with a blanket the entire time we were out. I could have had a puppy in the carrier for all anyone knew. Anyone not clean enough to perform surgery who dared to peek under that blanket might come away with a few less fingers if the laser beams shooting from my eyes didn’t vaporize them first. We carried Clorox wipes and surgical masks in our diaper bag. You think I’m kidding, don’t you?
In spite of the many differences between the younger moms and the older moms, I realized that regardless of age, all mothers want the same thing: healthy, happy, well-adjusted children. Well, maybe the next generation will have better luck with that one.
Oh, and by the way, I got a nice thank you note in the mail the other day. It reads: Dear Antique Mommy, Thank you so much for the little pink baby thingee. It’s just adorable. Little Madison will enjoy it. Did you get it at the mall? Love, Brittney.