“Every baby deserves to be wanted and loved and anticipated with great joy.”
That’s a Maemae-ism right there. My Mama believed that with her whole heart.
So it was with great joy that my oldest and I had the great honor and privilege and sheer fun of planning a celebration in anticipation of the arrival of our friend’s son and her mother’s, also our dear friend, grandson.
The fun started when the Mama-to-be wrote me, “My theme is ‘Where the Wild Things Are.'”
Ahh. Yes, I know that book. I took Children’s Literature. I worked in a library all through high school. I did storytimes for years for the local library system. I have children of my own, for goodness’ sake. I know this book.
Or did I?
I did what most in this day and age often do. I googled the title and expected all kinds of links to fun resources–partyware, stuffed critters for decorations, balloons, babywear, blankets, baby bedding, and so on.
And what did I find?
Ummmm, not much.
No partyware. No balloons or baby bedding. No blankets. The only babywear I found was on Etsy. If it weren’t for Etsy and Pinterest, I would not have had any ideas of where to start at all.
But I did have those sites to peruse and read and plan from. My thoughts started flowing and I picked up my love, the paintbrush, and had A BLAST. I went to JoAnn’s and happened upon some “Where the Wild Things Are” fabric. It was so exciting, planning and looking for “monstery” or “Max-like” things everywhere we went. The littles even got excited about it. It was Cooter when he was practically laying on the floor at Hobby Lobby who found the little wood owls that eventually were de-beaked and turned into Max’s buddy.
I had a great time painting and dreaming and putting colors together. My kitchen table was covered all week, and I couldn’t have been happier. I was constantly texting Aub pictures to ask her if this or that was okay. But in the midst of it all, what I enjoyed the most were two things.
First, the connection with my Mama. She loved babies. And she loved pampering expectant and new Mamas. How many times did she bring me a glass of tea as I sat nursing my little ones? How many meals did she prepare for me? After her first grandchild was born, she left the hospital just before daybreak (having been up all night waiting), and came back later that afternoon with all kinds of baked goodies for me to snack on–including her special teacakes. There was no way she could have gotten any sleep. That’s how she rolled. I think she would have enjoyed hearing about the plans for this shower, and I think she would have offered her own ideas in the mix. She was so creative and she LOVED children’s books; I know she would have had great ideas.
The second thing is the story itself. Rediscovering this classic by Maurice Sendak. What a fun story. And what a beautiful story of a mother’s love. And grace and forgiveness. I have so many favorite lines from this story–which I incorporated in the decorations, but one that really touched my heart that I didn’t use is this:
“…..of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot”
And there is this precious line, which is the truth that my heart cries out for the most–
“And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”
Isn’t that something we all want with all of our hearts? To be where someone loves us best of all?
Have I mentioned that I fell in love with this sweet story for the first time in the past two weeks? I am so thankful for this young Mama whose heart led her to choose her own Mama’s favorite story from childhood as the theme for her baby boy’s room. It has touched my heart and been a gift for me to experience it as though it were my first time reading it. .
Tonight I am wishing for grace and redemption and forgiveness for this little boy to be born in a few weeks. Most of all I wish for him to always find himself where someone loves him best of all. It was at this shower that it hit me for the first time that when we attend a baby shower, it’s more than just going to a party and giving a gift. At least it should be more. It should be a covenant, a promise, we make to be there not just for the parties but also for the times when things are sad or the Mama is at her wits’ end from exhaustion or she’s sick and the baby’s sick and they just need someone to bring chicken soup and a pack of diapers in the next size up. When the child is seven and is singing in the school play, we need to be there to celebrate with a call, a card, or our presence. When the teenager is sassing his Mama, and she cries longing for those sleepless nights when he was a baby and so, so sweet, they’ll both need someone to hug them and say it’s all going to be okay. It takes a village, folks. At least it has for me in raising mine. I think it’s more than an old African proverb. I think it is the gospel truth. We need each other on each step of this journey.
Tonight I am thankful for new babies and nearly grown babies and all of those in-between. I am thankful for the village I have had, those who have already gone on up to The House and those still here. I hope that Baby E’s life will be full to bustin’, overflowing with love, laughter, and grace. And lots of good books too. I keep my fingers crossed and good words said, lifting up his whole family–that they will join together and love each other through every single day.
And just for fun, I share with you some of the fun I had putting things together over the past couple of weeks. If you saw me with the paint all over my hands and under my nails…..and even on my new magical glasses…..now you know why.
Love to all. May you each find yourselves today where someone loves you best of all.