God is good!
Today was my friend's shower. He and his wife came with photos of their daughter in the NICU. Of course she's beautiful! :) Please keep them in your prayers. We'll all be very relieved when they're ALL home safe and sound.
As for the shower, it was a surprising experience for me.
The entire way there, I was nervous. I was afraid of facing a baby shower for a little girl. I didn't know if I was "there" yet. I was super happy for Jen and Leo, but I can admit that I am painfully aware that Myla never had a shower and will never have family and friends gathered to celebrate her.
Before you chide me for my selfishness, I already get it. I felt guilty enough for even allowing myself to go down that road. I'm being honest, though. I was nervous because I wasn't sure if seeing all the pink balloons, baby clothes and baby things would overload me.
I was one of the very first people there. The place was adorably decked out in pink and purple balloons. "It's a Girl" posters were everywhere, and the tables had cute little bookmarks made with their daughter's birthday and stats. Immediately I realized none of my friends had yet made their entrance.
I sent out a text. Dear God, let them be two seconds away! I can't do this by myself!
To my horror, none of my friends were actually attending. They sent me messages back with varying degrees of "I have other plans."
My heart actually sank and I contemplated turning around and leaving right then and there. I couldn't face this all by myself - not without a friend or two to talk about anything and everything to keep me from the pity-party brewing in my heart.
But no. I quietly took a seat at an empty table. Especially knowing that our other friends weren't coming, I couldn't leave Leo to think that none of us was there to celebrate with him. So I sucked it up as best I could and braced for impact. I begged God to take away my selfish grief and replace it with a magnification of the true joy I had for Leo, Jen and their little Maggie.
I stayed in my secluded little spot for about 10 minutes as other people trickled in. God was kind, because He sent my cousin's girlfriend as one of the attendees. She and I aren't close (mostly because we never see one another), so she was the perfect person to snap me into "Happy Gina" mode. Since I'm not comfortable enough to share personal details, my "auto-wall" went up and I slid into my "Everything is great, how are you?" game. She's an actress, so my guess is that happens frequently with her, too. Regardless, it was exactly the situation I needed to survive that moment.
Pretty soon, most guests had arrived. My originally silent table had grown to encompass all of Jen's friends. My cousin's girlfriend knew many of them from theater, so by the time Jen and Leo finally arrived, the table was so full that I was able to quietly excuse myself and sit with Leo, his best friend, Adam, and Adam's girlfriend. Adam is an old friend of mine through my husband, so again God afforded me a great person to focus on so I didn't have time to dwell on any vestige of a pity party. I really enjoyed spending the next two hours catching up with Adam and getting to know his girlfriend a bit better.
When it was time to leave, I was able to go with with a sense of gratefulness and pride. Grateful, of course, that I'd been able to stay to celebrate with Leo and Jen. Grateful, also, that God had sent me two key people to help me cope with what could have been a really difficult experience. Pride, finally, that I'd made the decision to stick it out. I really am proud that I was somehow able to make it through that shower intact and truly happy. I felt no bitterness or envy, no jealousy or anger regarding the gift of their child. On the contrary, God gave me what I requested - a magnified joy and a deep appreciation since I knew that Maggie wasn't just a gift for them... she was a gift for the world.