Have you ever gone to a baby shower where the surprise is that YOU are doing the work instead of the people hosting the shower? This happened to me almost 2 1/2 years ago when I went up to my husband’s brother’s house over 700 miles away to attend his wife’s baby shower being thrown by my husband’s sister and his mother. I made the silly mistake of thinking I was a guest. However, when I showed up, I quickly learned that this was definitely NOT the case.
Like all grand plans laid out by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, they had planned everything down to the last possible cute detail but hadn’t thought about how long it would take to get things ready. So, the day after driving those 700 miles to my brother-in-law’s house, I found myself alone at the kitchen table making table decorations for a rubber ducky themed shower and following specific instructions on how many of these doo-dads go into the cheesecloth, how many of those confetti sticker thingys get added and how long the ribbon needs to be to tie everything together. Now, I didn’t start out alone at the table. Somehow, everyone found other things that needed their attention in the other room. My sister-in-law (the mommy-to-be) eventually wandered in the kitchen and asked me where everyone else went. I told her I didn’t know. So, she sat down to put these little goodies together with me…and it was HER PARTY that was supposed to be done FOR HER.
The day before (on the day we had arrived after DRIVING 700 MILES…no, I’m not bitter), we had piled everyone up into two cars and gone on a scavenger hunt to find all the necessary items to make this the most precious baby shower ever. We went merrily through the grocery store, snagging this and grabbing the “Oh wouldn’t that be cute!” that and stuffing it all into the grocery cart. “We just HAVE to have those!” In the cart they go. Sister-in-law likes this for the baby. In the cart it goes. “ALL babies need THAT!” In the cart it goes. Hubby’s sister wants this magazine and those candies for herself. In the cart they go. When we got to the register, my mother-in-law heads straight through the line. My sisters-in-law both dally in the back of the line looking at the magazine rack. Register rings up the total and the clerk cheerfully lets me know the total (somewhere in the neighborhood of $70). When I “ah-hem” loudly and ask if that is all they are getting, they cheerfully tune up with a “Oh, yes!” and head straight through the line. I feel the blood rise in my face while I reach for my debit card to pay for all the stuff, including my hubby’s sister’s crap that had nothing to do with the baby shower. If I had been asked to do it or even forewarned that it was going to happen, I would have been more prepared. The blatant gall of it all just took me by surprise and totally floored me.
Oh, but we weren’t through yet. The day of the shower, we went to the pizza parlor that this shower was going to take place in and started to decorate the area. My hubby’s sis couldn’t help us decorate because she had to work that day. She left us that morning of promises to help when she got off work (about an hour and a half before the grand event), but didn’t show up until after everything was set up. My very pregnant sister-in-law couldn’t get up to hang decorations and none of us expected her to. But, my mother-in-law sat down to keep her company while I was drafted volunteered to lay out the tablecloths, hang the banners, set up the balloons and place the centerpieces where they belonged.
I had a very tiring few days. But it was a lovely party, if I do say so myself. I did get paid back the money for the groceries after my husband got on his mother and sister’s case about it. They told him that they had told me my brother-in-law would be paying me back (to which I called a “BS”, since they did no such thing). You can imagine how wary I am whenever it is suggested that we come to a “family function”. I don’t know how much of the “family” will be helping with the “function” and how much I am supposed to take care of.