Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's a shower for anyway?

I wanted to write a little bit more about my bridal shower - something that wasn't related to having a poutine hangover.  To tell the truth, the whole idea of a shower made me a bit nervous, right up until I walked in the door.  I was excited, because I knew it would be fun, but a party with the purpose of "showering" me with gifts was a little guilt-inducing for me.  I also felt like the concept was a bit outdated - give the little housewife a bunch of gifts so she can cook her husband meals?  I think at one point I said "I don't really need to have a shower" which was met with "yes you do, people want to come to a shower" which is sort of weird to accept - why would people WANT to have to come to a party where the purpose is to give someone gifts?

Because they love you, duh.  Because they want to show their support of your marriage and giving you some tea towels isn't an obligation, it's their way of supporting you by helping you set up your married home.  (The A Practical Wedding book helped me to wrap my head around this concept, otherwise I might still be guilt-tripping about all the money people have and will spend on us.)

The kindness and love I felt at the shower was kind of amazing.  Everyone there was genuinely so happyto be there and I didn't feel for a second like anyone felt "obligated" to be there or wasn't enjoying themselves.  It's great to have friends and family like that.  And seeing your friends and family who previously didn't know each other start connecting is awesome.

The most amazing gift of the shower, and maybe the most amazing gift ever in life, was a binder of recipes that my maid of honour Sherri had compiled from family and friends all over the place.  She'd worked with the moms to collect recipes from all sorts of friends and relatives and people sent in new favourites and family secrets, often with accompanying anecdotes and pictures of me or Brahm as kids.  My great aunt Marilyn sent a couple of original recipe cards from my great grandma's recipe box, Brahm's uncle shared his family favourite pickled peas recipe, even my grade 7 teacher contributed her famous popcorn balls recipe that she would hand out every Halloween (and every kid in the school would make a trip to her house for one).  It was such an honour to receive something that so much work had gone into, and it will definitely be a cherished possession.

I'm really glad I did get to have a bridal shower.  Because it's not just "something you have to do" when you have a wedding, or at least mine wasn't.  It wasn't just for me either, it was a chance for (most of) the whole network of women that I am close to to get together and celebrate becoming a community.  At first I had wanted a "mixed" shower because of the (see above) outdatedness of it all, but now I see the value in spending time with just your community of women.  I get wedding showers and baby showers now, because they are definitely not just about gifts at all - they're about building community and a support network.  And having a community and support network is a wonderful, important thing.

PS - if anyone did not contribute to the recipe collection but still wants to you can always feel free to give us your recipe(s).  For example I know longtime reader Joel might want to share his recipe for KFC gravy on stale bread, and I have heard great things about another of his recipes entitled "vegetables in a bowl".

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