So, my daughter threw her first baby shower last week. It was sort of a big deal for her, and I worked hard to treat it very seriously. Being a big sister is going to be a jolt, and while she's truly excited, I think that Thea intuitively understands that her world is about to be rocked.
When she told me for the ninth time that she wanted to throw a shower for her mom, we arranged a secret breakfast date to make plans. I told her that she had to pick the date, decide who to invite, create and send the invitations, and select and prepare the menu. She was, mostly, unfazed.
The first challenge came in the form of a text message from one of Nikole's friends who made the assumption that the invite was for the mothers and their daughters. Nope, Thea said. "I think it would be too crazy if all my friends were there, and also this is about celebrating mom, not me," she added. Because our daughter is really a sixty-three-year-old sensei.
Obviously, the secret didn't last long. In fact, I think I spilled the beans when I texted Nikole a picture of Thea diligently drawing the invitation. (The handwriting was mine, but the puns were all hers!)
It didn't occur to me in the moment that I was engaged in the important work of ritual. We didn't have a baby shower when Nikole was pregnant with Thea, and while she hasn't asked to have a shower for this second child I'm going to guess that the ritual of gathering with important women in her life - including her daughter - is an important one.
It's certainly important for Thea, who had an opportunity to be a hostess for an Event of Some Significance (as Winnie-the-Pooh would say). We woke early and made scones, arranged the table and cleaned the house. She greeted each guest at the door. The highlight of the morning? She read two children's books to the gathered friends and family -- certainly not the traditional baby shower entertainment!
It has made me think about the role of rituals at work - especially at Floricane, where we spend so much time discussing culture and engagement. Our team doesn't have significant rituals to make important passages and milestones. Perhaps we should.
Nikole is a big fan of totems and small rituals. It's nice to see our daughter following in her footsteps with such attention to the important role that gestures play in our relationships. It's even nice to see that some of their sensibility is rubbing off on me just a little.