…but don’t expect me to be happy about it.
WARNING: I may offend some people with this one. Or hurt some feelings. I don’t want to start a family coup or anything, but this is how I feel. Deal with it.
I believe in the value of tradition. But some traditions just aren’t valid anymore. Tradition for tradition’s sake is STUPID. Embracing my Polish grandmother’s heritage and eating humble cabbage and hand-rolled kluski noodles on Christmas Eve, I think, is a wonderful tradition: it reminds me of where I came from, and of a different world in which my Gram grew up. We all know that no January 1st has ever brought with it any notable divergence from December 31st, but in believing that it will and celebrating the turn of the New Year, we really do find a more optimistic mindset, thus this tradition can be a beautiful thing.
Wedding and baby showers, however, are not.
These shindigs began as modest little get-togethers where people gave the happy couple a little something to get them started, or to show support for young parents. It was not about financing someone else’s life choices.
This is not 1920. Two 18 year old kids are not moving right out of their parents’ homes and into their honeymoon cottage with nothing but love between them. And there are no social norms insisting that married couples start producing offspring immediately any longer. When two people have already lived together for four years and already own a toaster, a blender, and a full set of pots and pans, where do they get off registering for a bunch of shit?! You are literally telling people, “I have made a choice in my own life. Because you purport to love me, buy me one of these things to show me that you are happy that I have made said choice.” It is RUDE. It is…tacky.
And baby showers, well, as much as I love babies, there are several hundred things I’d rather be doing than playing infant-themed games and not being allowed to say the word “baby” at a party about a baby. Gag. Plus, again, you chose to have a kid. You want your kid to have all this nice stuff, then you go out and buy it. Children are expensive. If you can’t afford it, don’t have a kid. When I choose to have a kid, it will be because I am emotionally and financially ready. I wouldn’t ask you to set up a college fund for my kid, don’t ask me to buy you a $300 car seat.
[Note: The only time I find baby showers acceptable are “Oops!” babies. When a young girl gets knocked up and doesn’t have a plethora of resources, I can justify a party where people give her the necessities: diapers, wipes, bottles, simple baby clothes, maybe everyone goes in on a crib. No frilly expensive little dresses the baby will only fit into for one week. No elaborate room decor. No bells-and-whistles toys for a baby who won’t even be interested in toys for 6 months. A baby shower in the original spirit of a shower: a little push in the right direction.]
Now, I am happy for my friends and family when they get married or bring babies into this world. And I am always touched when they want to include me in their momentous life events. I attended a baby shower just today and donned the flowery skirt and fawned over my round glowing friend. I bought a present off her registry (the cheapest thing on it because, hey, I’m a nanny: I’m not rolling in the dough) and knitted a teensy little hat. But don’t think for one second I was having a ball today. I enjoy a decent meal, and I loved seeing her all big and ecstatic, but even at a shower for one of my very dearest friends I was annoyed as hell. If I wanted to knit the little-girl-to-be a hat, I could have done it of my own volition. But no, I had to do it because it was cheaper to top a gift with a hat than a card. And no matter how happy I am for a young couple thrilled to bring a new life into this world, I simply CANNOT be happy about playing dorky games and watching Mommy open gift after fluffy pink gift.
Does this make me heartless? Maybe. Do I care? Not in the slightest.
Now, say, someone threw you a shower. You were getting married and your mom and soon-to-be mother-in-law teamed up and surprised you with a little party, and therefore there was no registry and people could just buy you something from the heart, something they thought you would want or need because they just fucking wanted to, that’s fine. That’s lovely. That’s not your fault. But if you’ve walked through a store with a price gun and scanned a gravy boat because it’s vital for a new married couple to have one of those, then, you bother me. I may love you, I may even buy you that goddamn gravy boat, but know that I am growling on the inside.
I am a contrary little snot, I know this about myself. But I don’t think my disdain for celebratory showers is purely out of a desire to be on the outside: I believe my argument is valid. What was once a pure little party for youngsters taking on the world is now a dog and pony show, and it sickens me a bit.
If and when I walk down the aisle or decide to squeeze out a kid, I PROMISE, I won’t register for a thing. I would sooner cut off my hand than ask people to fund my future. And, if some evil force possesses me and I do have a registry with my name on it, kill me. Just…kill me dead. Or find a priest to exorcise me.