I couldn’t help overhearing two women having a conversation in the gym today. The reason I couldn’t help overhearing is because they were so loud and over-excited that even if I had pushed the stair-climber machine over on top of them, they would have still been talking. What was the cause of this unbridled gaiety? “My daughter is going to have a baby!” screamed woman one and woman two jumped for joy. Okay, I get it, this is big news, but what really bothered me was the lengthy conversation that followed about HOW she found out she was going to be a grandma, nana, nanny, mimi, memaw. Choose one.
“We were invited over for dinner and there was a wrapped gift on the table. When I opened it there was a photo in a frame that said “World’s Best Grandma” love Peanut and there was a photo of her ultrasound – which looked EXACTLY like a peanut! Then we had cupcakes that had little pink and blue blocks on them that spelled out the due date!” It was right about this time that I wished my cycle really had wheels so that I could run them over. When my sister got pregnant, she called my mom and said, “I’m pregnant.” Then my mom told my dad when he got home from work and he said, “I hope she knows we’re not going to be built-in damn babysitters.” And that was the last word on the subject until my niece was born. No photos. No cupcakes. No endless discussion of what my mother would be called. And there certainly weren’t any BBQs.
It seems that when this happy couple learn the sex of their baby, they are going to have a BBQ/Baby Shower where all of their friends can gather with gifts and anxiously await with baited breath if the little peanut is a boy or a girl. How will this information be revealed? Why with a giant cake, of course. But not just any cake. This cake will either be filled with a pink or blue center and everyone will have to wait for the cake to be cut to find out. Wow! How will they ever contain their excitement? The only information I want imparted to me from a BBQ is whether my hotdog fell on the ground and if the baked beans contain bacon (they better!). Again, I go back to the good old days when my niece was born. We didn’t know ahead of time what the sex was and it really didn’t matter. You pick out a boy’s name and a girl’s name and then wait. Unless you’re my parents who never picked out a girl’s name for me because some old Sicilian man told my mother he could tell by her shape that I was a boy. My father had to run to the church on the day I was born to have the priest pick out a name! That, however, is another sad tangent. When my sister finally delivered, my brother-in-law called my parents and said, “It’s a girl.” At that time my parents went shopping to buy pink blankets and dresses. There wasn’t an overload of baby gifts. And since I was only eight when my niece was born, she ended up with all of my toys and books anyway. That too is another equally sad tangent.
Luckily my cycle time was up just as these women started discussing car seats and their strict laws and guidelines. I never had a car seat. I sat on the armrest between my parents in my dad’s huge Buick. The only time I was restrained in the car was when my brother held my head down on the floor in the backseat so he could kick me. I can’t even imagine the pressure put on expectant parents today. Before the sperm even hits the egg they have to start planning the elaborate announcements and parties. It’s no wonder there’s a whole generation of kids today who believe the world revolves around them. All I know is that I’m not sure my life would have been any better if my birth was heralded with cupcakes and a BBQ. I do know, however, that had my dad not gotten the priest to name me, people would be calling me Anthony.