The last time we spoke about pregnancy from the paternal side (here), I shared my struggle of balancing my upcoming role as proud auntie with trying not to pressure my sister-in-law, the mom-to-be. Like I said in that post, the experience of major milestones is usually dependent upon one's relationship with the maternal side (wedding, pregnancy, participating in a child's life, etc.). My experience of these life events in the past has always been on the dominant side... ya know, friends of moms-to-be, bridesmaid, that cool play auntie who kids love, etc. In the case of my brother's son on the way, here I was experiencing auntie status from the sidelines and, keepin' it real, I didn't know how to process it.
Seriously. I had no idea how to process it. I mean, Islanders, you know me. You know how I love to help and to be involved and to document and to snap pics and to celebrate and, well, it was a challenge... a shock to my system... talk about system malfunction!
We were super close (like 'the couple besties who spent every weekend together' kinda close). Then, people got married, things changed and we were, eh, cordial. Things changed again and it was hi-bye... just weird. Oh, don't look at me like that! Don't act like you don't know how family can be - cool but we're not
Shortly after the news of baby coming, I started to get questions from family. Baby shower questions. Now, we've spoken about Event Planner Resentment (EPR) and we all know the signs, symptoms and long-term effects it can have. I had ideas for the shower but, to avoid an EPR flare-up and to manage expectations, I reached out to my sister-in-law to clear the air.
I initiated a conversation and we talked about some things and we both committed to working on the relationship. Because we were working on things, Ryan told me not to worry about her baby shower; the moms (hers and mine) would plan it.
Makes sense, right? Right. Right. Don't be offended, Tabitha. You weren't FIRED from the shower planning committee. It's in the best interest of the relationship. Long-term thinking, Tabitha. Did she just fire me from the shower?
I left the conversation encouraged... ironically with hurt feelings and a slight attitude... but with a peaceful heart. Was I annoyed? Was I hurt? Was I angry? Was I relieved?
Before I could process feeling fired, I got a text from BOTH moms (within 24 hours). They were both so excited to discuss the baby shower plans. I informed them how my conversation with Ryan went and how I was not to be included in the plans. Get this! BOTH of them said I had NO choice but to be included; the "planners" needed a planner and I was the auntie for the job.
That's right. I got the best of BOTH WORLDS! I would awkwardly rub the belly in passing until it started to feel natural. I stalked her registry and Pinterest to get an idea of her nursery plans to develop a shower theme. I initiated conversations on Facebook. Things were weird, with feelings all over the place (yo, did she fire me before she hired me?!), but I was in. I was working with the family to execute a surprise baby shower hosted this past Saturday, August 1st.
It was fabulous, this story gets better and I can't wait to share all the details with you in the coming posts. Yep, there's a mini series on the way.
Being flawed and honest and real is hard. I hope someone can relate and possibly learn from what I do wrong and what I do right in my own personal experiences. Posts like this aren't written to bash but rather to show how a little effort, a lot of faith and a few God-sent friends can ensure you do what's right for the right people. If you're not perfect and have family relationships that could use some work or if you're in a situation where you are struggling with celebrating a joyous time in someone else's life, stay tuned for more. This was an emotional roller coaster for me... much more than executing an event. This series is about repairing, rebuilding and relishing in time for a baby's arrival... even when it doesn't come naturally at first.
Oh, it's still a Fabulous Island post so there will be crafts, pretty pictures and event planning stuff but there's also going to be some real moments along the way :)