In generations gone by, women of a certain age lived close to their daughters, nieces and granddaughters, and were expected to gently counsel them on cooking, keeping a home and especially on child birth and rearing.
In these days of TV and radio counselors and self-help books; when generations can live hundreds or thousands of miles from each other; when women are equally as engaged as men in careers and daytime responsibilities; when politics, religion and lifestyles separate (not heal) families....it's sadly rare when women of a family have occasion to lovingly pass down time-honed traditions of home and family arts.
We held a baby shower for my eight months pregnant daughter-in-law, Giovanna, last Saturday. We, meaning me, my 13 year old, my former husband's wife of 20 years and their 17 year old.
The shower was attended by 22 women...all but three of them relatives of Giovanna and Ryan, my son. Three prospective first-time grandmothers, two prospective great aunts, two new aunts, a dozen cousins. (My mother, the only living prospective great-grandmother is not healthy enough to make the trip from Colorado.)
We showered the new mother with gifts and advice. We joyfully pulled together to ensure that they have all the necessities to start life as parents. We even played a game in which she was "showered" with 25 practical nursery items, and we explained each to her.
For four hours, we laughed and chatted, ate a delicious lunch and scrumptious cake, took loads of photos, and opened dozens of presents for the baby. It was a heart-warming, fun afternoon for all, and Giovanna left feeling loved, supported, exhausted (of course) and better equipped to be a new mother.
For one afternoon, it felt like an old-fashioned coming together of one family's women to gently counsel and support the next generation.
It was delightful!