When I saw the brown puddle spreading across my yellow Formica counter, I knew I needed help. The puddle would have been my first cup of coffee of the day — if I’d mindfully remembered to put a cup under my Keurig’s flow. But I was distracted, busy anticipating the 20 ladies who would arrive at my house that afternoon to shower my daughter with blessings.
But I was the one who was blessed.
Despite my careful planning, I was cramming to prepare for this shower that was scheduled for 2 p.m. Through the week, as soon as I’d gotten home from work, I had cleaned and scrubbed and tried to accomplish as many party-related details as I could, but as life would have it, I still had a lot to do. Baking, the final grocery shopping, a final light cleaning, food preparing, and decorating — and, I hoped, showering myself with a bit of water and soap before the party began.
But then I remembered Sharon.
Sharon, the expected guest who didn’t receive her emailed Punchbowl.com invitation, who had heard of the party through another guest and then wondered why she hadn’t been invited. The Sharon who was the mother of two of my daughter’s best friends, who considered my daughter almost one of her own.
The Sharon who had changed her email address and so didn’t get the intended invitation. Once that issue resolved, she was also the Sharon who graciously offered to help me. Let me make the meatballs, she said after listening to my rundown of the intended menu. And I have an easy cheeseball recipe I’d like to make, she added. And how about I make a fruit salad? Could I come early to help you set up?
So on Saturday, I listened to praise and worship music and moved through my many paces toward the shower, almost afraid to call Sharon to confirm. But when I did, she asked how I was doing, told me she’d prayed for me and the event, that the homemade meatballs were baked and in the Crockpot, the cheeseball made, and she was in the process of making the fruit salad. Then she asked if I needed anything else.
Like clockwork she was at my house an hour before the shower. She grabbed my hands and prayed, and then she forced me to delegate work to her. Shortly after she was in action, one of my daughter’s friends arrived, also willing to help. She’d driven a few hours north of her home to attend and then cut lemons, prepped mint sprigs, and taste-tested guacamole among her delegated duties. When the next guests arrived — also early — they immediately took on tasks. They’d come for the party, yes, but they’d come early eager to help me prepare.
The guests arrived. Family, of course, and some friends who’d known Laura for more than 23 years (though she’s only 25) or other crazy-large chunks of time and some friends of mine who’d known my daughter for 60 minutes or less. Other friends of mine, like Sharon, were parents of Laura’s girlhood friends and loved Laura like a daughter. Some had dedicated their weekend or their Saturday to drive to our home hours from their own — and we’d all enjoyed the conversation and the laughter as we nibbled and sipped and gathered into the family room to watch Laura open her gifts.
I had hoped to create a baby shower that was, indeed, a “shower of blessings” for my daughter and her growing family. But it was Sharon and the others — and I can’t fail to mention my mother-in-love who arrived in advance, baked her famous rum cake, and helped me decorate — who made it that shower of blessings. “Sharon share alike,” I thought. It made a nice play on “share and share alike.” These dear ones shared their presence and their presents, loving my daughter so extravagantly that it poured over me as well.
I am truly blessed. (And making note of Sharon’s changed email address as well.)