Weeks ahead of time, my hubby (who knew about the whole thing from the get-go) told me not to make plans for Valentine's Day. Financially, things were really not looking so hot come February, so I told him not to bother with our "secret getaway" and that I'd be happy to just watch a movie at home over a nice, home-cooked meal (that hopefully he would cook, haha... just kidding... no I'm not). But he was adamant. No, we were going to do this, it was a little far away, but it was "already paid for."
Ugh. Far away? How far away? 3 hours???!! What?? My pregnant butt and bladder were definitely not gung-ho about the idea, but I kept telling myself my husband went to all this trouble to plan a surprise BabyMoon for me, and so I am going to look forward to it!! So, I did :)
As we were driving, I was still frankly amazed that I hadn't figured out where we were going, yet. I'm not easy to surprise. For some crazy reason, I became convinced we were going to an indoor water park (um, yes, I'm crazy) and kept asking if I had to put on a bathing suit. (Uhhhhhh, have you noticed I'm 7 months pregnant, dear sweet husband??? What part of 3rd Trimester in a bathing suit in a public watering hole sounded appealing to you when you booked this thing? But... I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!) He kept assuring me I did not have to put on a bathing suit, nor wear my long johns (skiing was my other crazy idea - I'm not a great skier NOT pregnant, let alone now when I fall over putting on my
So we kept on driving as I kept on stewing silently trying to figure out where we were going and what we'd be doing. The more I guessed, the happier he seemed to get that I truly had no idea.
As we got closer, I thought I recognized some landmarks - "Hey, wait... I've seen that before..." and I even asked if we were near Sew's mom's house in MD (where we had been for my goddaughter, Hannah Grace's baptism). "No, we're in PA," was the answer. He had evidently crossed the state border while keeping me preoccupied, so I believed him!
But then we got to the driveway. Immediately I recognized the house, and with blue balloons all over the mailbox, it could only mean one thing. I broke down into an uncontrollable sob as we pulled in the driveway, just SO TOUCHED that this was actually happening, for me... for ME?? The one who stood convinced there would never be a baby TO shower??? It was crazy. And it got crazier.
Entering the home, I was greeted by the beautiful hostess, none other than Sew Infertile/Sew Hormonal/Sew What (lol) along with Jeremiah 29:11, Mrs. Mike (first time actually meeting this amazing woman, by the way!), and Finding Joy in Every Journey. Apparently the Bubonic Plague was going around and so some other attendees could not make it, and all the kiddos had to stay home and vomit on their daddies :( (Happy Valentine's Day!) It was just such an honor to see all of these beautiful faces, putting their families and lives on hold for a day, to celebrate my precious son. Overwhelming doesn't even begin to describe it.
While still recuperating from the initial shock of the day, I began to open what seemed like an endless cascade of gifts, with the theme of "baby library." Not one repeat, and baby TCIE is going to be one well-read baby, not to mention well-dressed in monkey bowties, safari animal sweat suits, baseball clothes, and adorable onesies, and hopefully also well-bathed with washcloths, towels, and bath toys :) Mama TCIE (uh, what did I just write??) is also going to be well-read with breastfeeding and parenting books, and, of course, what Yankee fan Mama of a baby conceived during Jeter's last season would be set without...
(who else but JellyBelly?)
There were a number of group gifts, as well:
Along with an adorable "bassinet" made of baby blankets, towels, washcloths (with monkeys on them!!) and diapers, made by Sew's Mom and sisters.
And then the very last gift to be opened... also from Sew's Mom. A sewing book with images of all different kinds of baptism gowns, with this page earmarked:
along with a note stating that she will be MAKING MY BABY'S BAPTISM GOWN from this pattern, and embroidering the Pater Noster along the bottom hem. Um, EXCUSEMEWHAT?!?!?!?! Am I dreaming???
It's probably a good thing that I opened a particular gift first, and not last. Because I was just so emotionally and spiritually FULL by the end of the day. And yet, while the entire day, and everyone who was there physically and in spirit, will forever remain in my heart as part of one of the very best memories of my life, the first gift I opened I believe captures exactly what that day, and all of you, means to me.
Bam. The significance of this framed original artwork (by Sew's Mom) hit me immediately, and I couldn't hold back the tears... because it hit me, right then and there... This Cross I Embrace was never barren:
My heart is so full.
Thank you, all of you, for being a part of my journey.