My mom is both wealthier and cleaner than I am. She therefore pays someone to clean her house once a week.
And today is cleaning day at my mom’s house, which means Marta and I spent most of the morning moving from room to room with our computers, trying to stay out of the way. I am editing a book that has to be in by Jan. 1; Marta is finishing parts of her dissertation that should have already been written. In other words, we are in Florida on vacation visiting my parents, but we are not really on vacation yet.
At one point we were both perched on the love seat in the front room, typing away wildly on our laptops, when I heard one of the woman cleaning the house–Sybryna is her name–in the kitchen saying to her co-worker:
“Look! It says ‘Mommies to Be.’ Mommies, not Mommy!”
The other woman was unfazed by the use of the plural noun. She mumbled something indicating at much, but Sybryna interrupted.
“But MommIES!” she nearly pleaded. “Why?”
I could have explained.
The sign they were referring to said Mommies because, well, we’re two mommies. But, more to the point, because last week my mom bought a little extra construction paper and, with Marta’s and my help, cut out an “I” an “E” and an “S” to replace the “Y” that comes with the “Baby Shower: Mommy to Be!” banner she had bought to hang near the Christmas tree.
For our Baby Shower, that is.
Marta and I flew in late Sunday night, leaving behind the overcast skies and de-iced planes of Iowa for Florida’s almost pornographicly temperate weather. We woke up Monday morning to piercing sunshine and a very long baby shower to-do list.
Nico will be my mother’s first grandchild and to say she’s excited by the prospect is putting it mildly. She’s practically foaming at the mouth–in an endearing sort of way. Less than a month after we told her Marta was pregnant, she was already mentioning baby showers. We were hesitant at first. Neither of us could imagine going to one of those events where they rub your belly like a Buddha and play games that involve nipples and high-pitch screaming.
But my mom promised a gender-inclusive event. And no games. So we said yes (and, then, thank you).
And it was really quite sweet. We cooked a delicious dealie with chicken, olives and prunes. I invited a few friends. My parents invited all of theirs–a bunch of very hip ladies and gents. Only a couple people rubbed Marta’s belly. Only a couple told us horror stories about their own maniacal children. And no one recounted their own birthing horror stories (Marta claims the Spanish version of a baby shower involves a bunch of women surrounding the mother-to-be and scaring her stiff with their own bloody, painful, scream-inducing stories of birth).
After stuffing ourselves silly, we gathered near the tree and Marta and I unwrapped our presents. There were some crazy adorable things–including a stuffed animal rabbit so soft I swear it was made from real bunny pelt–and then some very practical ones, like a handmade blanket and a squeaky giraffe (who is apparently from Paris and goes by the name Sophie) that one uses to distract an infant while changing her diapers.
It was all so sweet I had to resist the urge to pin each and every guest to the ground in a bear hug. But the sweetest of it all was that sign. My parents have always been supportive of my “alternative lifestyle,” but with Marta getting pregnant it’s almost as if their support had gone viral. Reaching all of their friends. Every stranger in the grocery store. Because when your daughter’s partner is having baby you can’t really tell anyone that news–and if you are the grandma to be you want to tell everyone the news–without first explaining that your daughter has a partner, of the lesbian variety.
So, thank you Maw and Paw for the lovely celebration. And thanks to all of you who came. But most of all, thanks Maw, for remembering the construction paper.