Last Sunday, the HBH took Cancan for the afternoon, dropping me off at a quaint little tea shop in the heart of downtown Burlingame. New friend Annie and I were throwing a book-themed baby shower for Neighbor Kara, because according to Martha Stewart, book showers are an actual thing.
So we decorated our little corner of the restaurant with pithy reading-savvy quotes: “Keep calm and read me a book,” and “Children become readers in the laps of their parents.”
I tore pages out of one of Cancan’s dog-earred picture books and ripped up an ancient Christian fiction book I found holed up in the corner of the basement – might this tale of Isaiah rest in peace, finally. And then with the help of a hot glue gun and our endless supply of used manila envelopes created a book garland, among other word-happy decor.
Baby pics of Neighbor Kara and her Jude Law look-alike husband, Eryl, adorned one corner of the table, along with the phrase, “Once upon a time…,” with each word separately attached to different decorations.
Annie fittingly picked up cupcakes from Kara’s Cupcakes down the street, and we stuck word-filled hearts and stars and moons in the center of each tasty treat.
And then it was time to celebrate the baby-mama herself: so instead of playing “Melt the Creepy Plastic Ice-Cubed Baby” or “Guess that Nasty Microwaved Chocolate Diaper Treat”, we just hung out. Actually, we played one game of matching famous baby books to their famous quotes, but even then, everyone won. (Because, you see, baby showers can become the most dominating and competitive of places, excluding those who can’t suck down their water fast enough or who didn’t memorize the Halloween candies of their youth – or worse yet, excluding those who aren’t mothers in the typical sense of the word).
So we said none of that – and instead we drank our tea, and we ate our cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, and spread butter on the already buttery scones. We told stories of our weekends, and we laughed and we asked questions of each other, closing the acquaintance-gap just a little tiny bit (but even then, we didn’t friend request each other when we got home).
And as I mused over the shower this past week, I realized that the shower was representative of Neighbor Kara herself: it was completely selfless. She’s one of those people that draws others in, enveloping them in conversation as she asks question after question, even at her own baby shower. She has a genuine interest in others, so much so that when I leave an afternoon of hanging out with her, I find myself wanting another four hours of Neighbor Kara time. But, but we didn’t get to talk about this – for our cyclical conversations take a new turn approximately every 1.5 minutes, because the dialogue is so ALIVE.
Have you ever had a conversation like that?
Have you ever left after talking to someone, thinking, man, that was an awesome conversation – only later realizing that it was because they kept asking you awesome questions, and you kept talking about your awesome self?
Well, that’s what Sunday’s shower was like – but in the most beautiful and purest of forms. It encapsulated the mama-to-be, reminding all of us of what a lovely, selfless mother she is going to be, by just being the natural, real Kara that she is.
And that’s the kind of friend I want to be as well.0