In the Real Celebrations series, SoKind asks registry users to share a bit about their celebrations. Read on for a collection of inspirational ideas as well as lessons learned!
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The Mother: Guinevere Higgins, the Director of Development for the Center for a New American Dream, the nonprofit that manages SoKind Registry. When she’s not fundraising she enjoys tending her garden, teaching others to garden, going to see live music, and playing with her joyful 14-month-old.
The Event: Potluck Baby Shower and Mother Blessing
Location and Date: January 2014, at the home of a dear friend outside Charlottesville, VA
In Her Words: I was extraordinarily lucky that three dear friends came together to plan and execute this event on my behalf. All are themselves mothers who have lots of experience in helping other women prepare for giving birth and becoming mothers for the first time. So my input largely consisted of crafting the guest list, creating my registry, and identifying any activities that I really wanted to do that day. They took care of everything else! The emphasis was on hand-me-down gifts, potluck food, and—most importantly—the sharing of heartfelt blessings and advice, which was the main event of the day. For special activities, I requested that the whole group stand in a tight circle and bind beautiful yarn around our wrists in make-shift bracelets (the idea is to wear the yarn bracelet until the end of the pregnancy and remove it when the baby is born). We also made beeswax candles that each guest could take home and light when they found out that the baby had arrived.
Meaningful Moment: The best part of the event for me was when we all came together for everyone to offer a blessing, poem, or words of wisdom. Because it was an eclectic group that included friends, former colleagues, my mother, and my mother-in-law, everyone said a few words about how we met or what our relationship means to them, which was so fun and touching to hear—I greatly enjoyed hearing old, funny, and heartfelt stories from the women who know me the best. But it was more than just fun—the blessings and advice offered really made me feel so loved, supported, and confident. And that was hands-down the best gift of the day! Funny enough, many people brought gifts—nearly all of them hand-me-downs, books, and other items that I had requested on my SoKind registry—but unlike a typical baby shower where the main event is opening presents and ooh-ing and aah-ing at the tiny clothes and new toys, we ran out of time before I could unwrap anything. Which was fine with me—I enjoyed going through the gifts with my mom that evening, and looking back, I feel that the emphasis of the event was on love, food, and community—and not stuff.
SoKind Gifts Received: It was so fun to get hand-me-down items and to hear the wonderful stories and remembrances from other mothers about their own little ones that went along with them. We also “registered” for friends to come over and walk or play with our dog after the baby was born, as we knew she would feel a bit neglected—this was a nice, free way for people to help us out and catch a quick visit with the baby as well. At the time, SoKind didn’t offer a meal sign-up, but now that it’s available with the new Premium registries I know we definitely would have used this.
Lessons Learned: Being surrounded by friends, family, and women who love me and are so happy for me was the best gift and best support I could receive in preparation for giving birth and becoming a mother. And I really do believe that their prayers and wisdom were a huge part of the happy, healthy birth of my son.
Advice for Others Looking to Host a SoKind Celebration: In our materialistic culture it can be a challenge to convince others of your desire to align your values with the act of receiving gifts. But SoKind makes it much easier to do that. Parenthood, in particular, is so full of needless stuff, redundant items, and unsolicited advice for what you “absolutely need.” If you’re lucky enough to have friends with children, you probably don’t need a whole lot of material items beyond what your community can provide for you in the form of hand-me-downs. So try to focus on the vitally important pieces that money can’t buy: wisdom from experienced parents, homemade meals, help with household tasks, and love!