Maria had been waiting for my mom’s stepdaughter’s baby shower for a month. There was not five spare minutes that went by that she did not pose a question or a thought about it:
What games should we play?”
Papa Rod needs to ask his daughter, Kristen, what cake she likes to eat so we get the right kind.”
“I think we should buy lotions and lipstick for the people who win the games. I think we should buy “I love Cincinnati stickers, too, because they live in Cincinnati.”
She came home from school in the evening and made lists of the games we could play and the gifts we could buy. She thought hard about what inscription should be on the cake.
“I got it, mom” she exclaimed on afternoon. “Happy Birth and Love Your Baby.” Perfect.
We had to drive down to Cincy on Saturday evening in order to ensure that we were there first thing Sunday morning to decorate and get the food together. Unfortunately, both Maria and Mario slept horribly and we all looked like walking zombies at 7 am when we dragged ourselves out of bed. Maria had thought of Sunday like Christmas and was simply too anxious to sleep. Mario, on the other hand, just decided to be a rascal and move around all night restless and ornery. Nonetheless, there was no time to rest – we had a party at 2 pm! Maria was engaged and ready. She reviewed all of the decorations and got us to work. Task master at age four.
“The streamers should go right there. The centerpiece right there. Give me the baby favors – I will put them over here.”
After the decorating ended, she moved on to the food and drink.
“What food did Grandma get? Did she get pop for everyone? Where are the plates and cups?”
Martha Stewart had to have swept into her body for the last month and set up camp. She was unreal. When we finally got everything together, she made a run over to my Aunt Julie’s house for some last-minute “make-up” (blush and lipstick) and new hair-do. She promptly returned to greet the guests and play an impeccable hostess. Meanwhile, her brother acted insane as usual. We thought he had gone out the door to play with marbles only to hear him coming down the stairs and see him at the foot of the stairs with no pants on, butt-naked. Before we could blink, he darted to the middle of the room and yelled “Naked Party!” Maria, playing the good hostess, immediately shooed him up the stairs and reprimanded him along the way: “Mario, you cannot come downstairs without any pants on little boy!”
Maria helped me with all of the games – holding the string while people guessed the length of string to go around Kristen’s belly; yelling out the type of food in the baby jars; and passing out presents to the winners of the game. But Maria’s most impressive act was assisting me in passing out the cake and ice cream to ALL of the guests before she sat down to eat any herself. A truly selfless act because she loves sheet cake as much as her mama! Mario, meanwhile, continued to dart around the room shouting nonsense and flirting with the guests.
The shower ended, the guests left. We packed up our stuff and loaded our bodies into the car. We were absolutely, undeniably exhausted. We had managed to pack into a 24 hour period of time a trip to the outlet malls, two trips to parks (one to Blue Ash and one to Reading where I used to go as a kid); two trips to Aunt Laura’s house; a trip to Grandma Menkedick’s house; a trip to the store; and a baby shower!
We are going to feel like we stepped into molasses this weekend because we have nothing planned. Ahh, no complaints from us.