Our stomachs were full, sure, with cheesy bread, cake, washed down and around with cups of tea, but when the last guest left and we put our feet up, it was our hearts that felt wrung out, stuffed and overflowing. My sister placed her hands on her basketball tummy, growing bigger each day as that little boy inside stretches and fills up the space.
The house had been full, seats had been warmed, with people we have known almost since the time our own mother had us. They watched my sister grow up, let her babysit their own children, clapped and cheered as she became a wife, and now sat again, in our living room, welcoming her into motherhood with gifts, laughter, and gentle advice. Friends who had stood up in her wedding now held out hands to balance her as she sits in this waiting— already a mother but not quite yet.
Each of them came and stuffed her arms full with rattles, onsies, blankets and creams, tied together with anecdotes and stories of their own wakings in the night, their own aches and joys, their own sweet bundle. I was reminded again that we are a linked people, that these experiences and milestones are not made to separate or distinguish us, but to make us all into one. This shower was about Laura, in a way, but it was more about what we are all made for: to nourish, restore, and encourage life.