The Park

Too cute
Too cute

It’s Rich and Tara’s baby shower! I’ve been looking forward to this for so long, which is weird for me because whenever I have work later in the day, whatever happens previously is not nearly as enjoyable. But I refuse to let that get me down. It starts at 1pm at Will Rogers Park, which is only 20 minutes away from us. Mike and I have never been here. Of course, it’s beautiful. As soon as we park I think this would be a great place to have a picnic, as if Mike would have a picnic with me or even as if people have picnics anymore. Mike sees grass and trees and fields and all he sees are the endless possibilities for wiffle ball.

It’s only a few minutes after 1. No fear of being late; we are the first to arrive. Besides Marcus, of course. The park is huge but we spot the light blue balloons and picnic benches immediately. Tara waving. It’s the cutest spot. We park, and Mike carries over our huge present- something off the registry I didn’t think would come in until next week. When it arrived I bought the coolest wrapping paper I’ve ever bought in my life, of course from my favorite store on Abbot Kinney where I go to for any and all cards. Rich makes a comment to Mike about the wrapping paper and Mike makes sure I know what he said, because I’ve been talking his ear off about this wrapping paper all week and he’s probably like, yea, I don’t care. But it is seriously so cool – light blue with navy whales and orange octopus and other sea life creatures. It’s classy. I mean, they have a registry. They know what they’re getting. The wrapping is the most fun part.

Catching up with Troy, Mike, and Jason
Catching up with Troy, Mike, and Jason

Marcus is always so entertaining. We talk about the whole touching belly thing. I think it’s weird to just touch a woman’s belly when she’s pregnant, especially when you don’t know her. I mean, I wouldn’t touch Tara unless she told me it was OK. But people do it all the time. Marcus gives his two cents. “My mother kisses random babies in the supermarket. Multiple times on the face. She’ll just go right up to them and kiss them. On the mouth. So. It’s not that weird.” Well then.

It’s a little chilly so I keep my jacket on. Rich offers us a beer. Um, well, sure I’ll take a beer! Best baby shower ever! Seriously I am the worst at refusing a drink. Troy and Jason arrive and we haven’t seen them in a long while. I find myself segregated with Mike, Troy, and Jason. A lot of people are here but we don’t know them, so rather than introduce ourselves, we form our own circle and act like teenagers.

Casey and her boyfriend, Sean, arrive. (Quick backstory: Casey went to West Deptford. Tara was friends with Sean out here, played matchmaker and introduced the two. Casey lives in New York; Sean lives here. Casey now plans to move here – she can transfer with work, so it’s kind of awesome.) Sean walks up with this box, unwrapped. Not completely unwrapped. There is a strip of wrapping paper over the top of the box. They ran out of wrapping paper. I love this. It’s amazing. I mean, you ran out of wrapping paper. I would think, you’d bring the gift with no wrapping paper but no, there is one strip taped to the box. It’s hilarious. He places it next to our gift on the picnic table. Mike and I look at it. Well, there is no wrapping, so I can see exactly what they purchased, and it’s exactly what we purchased, sitting right next to our gift. Um, yea, Tara, that’s what we got you. I don’t know how this happened. Rich and Tara are upset they received the same gift.

Casey, Tara, Betsy
Casey, Tara, Betsy

Sike! They would never. It’s totally fine. But now they have to return one and buy something else and I wish they didn’t have to be bothered with it. I am beyond excited for them. I can’t wait to babysit or do anything I can to help. I hate to compare or anything like that, but all my friends are having babies back home and I can’t be there. I was there for Christmas and they were so little. Next time I see them they will be so big. So different.

I can be there for Tara’s son and I want to be there so much. I can’t wait. I want to be there when she’s having him and I want to be there whenever she needs help. It’s like I can put all my energy into this one child. Because I’m here and she’s here and he’s here. Why not take advantage of that.

Olenka and the girls come. I forget that Mike has never met them, so as soon I have the chance, say hi to Olenka and introduce her to Mike. We chat for a while but it’s not until I reveal that Mike is also from Jersey that she really takes him in – she doesn’t even deny it. So happy that he is from Jersey. I think he’s intimidated by the four daughters, but I introduce him to them all. These girls are the sweetest things in the world. I already knew that, but I’m glad Mike can experience it for himself. I seriously love this family.

Tara acts like she hates that I take pictures, but that’s crap. I don’t take many but I make sure to capture some moments. Because this is a big moment. There is one friend we meet, Matt, who is memorable. He’s very funny. He keeps asking us if we want cake. I don’t even like cake but it’s difficult to turn down funfetti. So good. It doesn’t sound funny to keep asking that, but he kept popping up out of nowhere, talking about cake. I’d like to hang out with him again.

It’s the best baby shower I’ve ever been to. Guys and girls both there. Good food. Good drinks. Beautiful place. Just low key and fun. Mike keeps asking me questions because he has never been to one. I highly enjoy that. Why shouldn’t guys be invited? Rich and Tara – as always – make everything fun.

Later in the night, Tara texts me. I included an extra gift. I wanted it to be a birthday gift that had nothing to do with baby (since her birthday just passed), but I found this adorable baby scrapbook that I couldn’t resist. I thought she would love it, but was afraid someone had already gotten her one. She texts me later in the night while I’m at work. “I think your baby book is my favorite gift.”



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