The cake reminded me of another cake, one I don’t remember but I have seen in pictures from my Christening. I suppose any cake bearing one’s name is going to call to mind other similar cakes, but something about the cake for my shower was reminiscent of the cake from my baptism.
One of my cousins offered to host my bridal shower. The generosity of this still amazes me. My brother is my attendant for my wedding, so he wasn’t going to be planning anything. My mother agreed to shower me and arranged this with one of her beloved nieces.
All I wanted – even before my surgery made me dial back a lot of my winter plans – was something simple. Get my family and mom’s friends in one place, no games, no fanfare. There was a dash of snow which sadly kept some of my fiance’s family away as they were driving a few hours. But the Connecticut contingent came out despite the snow in the forecast, and when snow began to fall during dessert everyone could escape home safely.
A reason I rushed into the operating room when the surgeon told me that she had an imminent opening was so I’d be recovered enough to attend the shower. Two days before I was in such pain my fiance suggested I might have to cancel. I cried and shouted “I’m not canceling!” and what do you know? I was up to going.
Everyone there had been worried about me and praying for me, and I imagine they were relieved to see me with my hair and makeup done, in a nice dress, eating hors d’oeuvres and telling jokes.
I could share with you a million details about the desserts that my aunts contributed or the gifts adorned with my favorite rubber duckies or how good it felt to get healing hugs from some of my cousins, but those details don’t matter. Here’s what matters. Here’s why I’m telling you this story:
Someone, miraculously, we all love each other. I’m not sure I’ll ever know why any of them love me. Is it because they held me at my christening when I was a baby and I was cute then and they hung on to that affection for all these years? Is it some purely evolutionary instinct based on family survival and networks of altruism?
There is nothing in the world I can do to repay the love that is shown to me every day by my family and friends. That’s not how love works, for any of us. We don’t earn it, the best we can do is notice it and appreciate it.
There is nothing I can do to repay God for plopping me down in the middle of an extraordinary family. So I pray and love and am humbled by the care and attention and love I can never possibly deserve but which is showered on me anyway.