RSVP–With Regrets (Actually Not Really Regretful)

Oh lawd no! Baby shower. I thought I graduated these. Oh but no, there’s Silje, the European whose never had one so she’s having her first and last baby shower for bebe numero trois. As I’ve grown older, baby showers have also evolved–from absolutely tortuous affairs with pastel frosted cupcakes that match the stationary of the invitation to a more laid back affair–sitting around, chatting about maternity leaves, weight loss strategies… So I knew this baby shower would actually be a sweet, mellow affair. No physical gifts, they said, because they are moving soon to a house that would fit all three. Phew, I’m spared of the Babies”R”Us hyperventilating routine where the claustrophobia sets in in the aisle between the breast pumps and bibs.

So this expectant mother Silje’s a sweetheart. I like her. But she’s essentially the wife of an old friend–we go back forever, and I also haven’t seen him forever. I basically heard through the grapevine that they were expecting a third, and tada, suddenly I have an inconvenient email in my inbox. Saturday, 1-4 PM. Oh my god, why? Those are my prime hours on Saturday. I take two classes linked to my hobby exactly at that time. I missed them last week due to ski-mageddon and I’m eager to go back. Yes I know, classes are weekly and a baby is once in a lifetime. And I know the shower won’t be THAT painful…but, like, I barely can remember the name of your first two and I haven’t had a conversation longer than two minutes with either parent in the past four years. So…three hours of prime time for someone I really have little in common with (I know about the dinner party last week you didn’t invite me to) is a heavy price to pay in the name of social niceties. OH BUT THE GUILT. I can already feel daggers directed at the single girl who decided to prioritize hobby over life.

But then, mother-of-three friend Margot RSVPd no, citing needing to spend time with her kids because she’s been traveling half the week for work and needs some quality time. Wait a minute, when do mothers get a free pass out of babyshowers? I thought of all people, once people have given one for you, you are obligated to attend baby showers for perpetuity parceling out been-there-done-that wisdom about the difference a diaper bin can make on the quality of life. I mean, what can I do at these things except look and act miserable and completely out of place and kicking myself for not packing a flask? But moms, you are a reservoir of knowledge, you and your torn-and-mended vagina–you have war stories to tell from the frontlines–these new moms are holding onto your every word, and me, I’m thinking about when my next dental cleaning is while feigning interest in the topic at hand.

I fought through my guilt of saying no to this babyshower, and I justified it saying my classmates are my family, and I’m entitled to hang out with them just as much as Margot does with hers. I know I’m being judged by most who wouldn’t see it the same way, but I’m not about to pay a higher tax burden just because I don’t have a biological family. Of course, I expresesd this guilt by doubling up on the monetary gift, but you know what? I felt so much better when I RSVPd no. There’s always a thought that after burning so many baby shower bridges, no one would show up to mine if I had one. But you know what? That’s a hypothetical and I would be fine with that consequence over reluctantly attending tens and hundreds of these painful affairs with no benefit other than feeling less guilty.

I RSVP no, with glee.

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