We attended a “gender reveal party” yesterday for my niece and her husband, who are expecting their first child in October. We were there with about 70 other people.
For any of you who have never heard of a “gender reveal party” — yes, they are an actual thing. In this case, they work as follows:
- The mother-to-be has a gender test done, but the results are not seen by her, but given to a friend.
- The friend takes the results to a bakery.
- The bakery cooks either a cake or cupcakes which have either blue or pink frosting inside, the cutting into of which constitutes the big ceremony at the party. In this way the couple finds out the gender of the child the same time as all of those closest to them (presumably, those invited to the party.)
As is typical for family parties, I greet the hosts and guests of honor, then end up most of the time watching my two grandsons, one of whom celebrated the occasion by finding the one patch of poison oak on an otherwise seemingly limitless patch of property.
Parties are, in my mind, the great revenge of extroverted people on us introverts. If you asked me, what is the best way to celebrate the most important things in life, I would say, “in peace and quiet and as few people as possible” — but that is not the extrovert’s way. They want everyone they know gathered around, and bedlam. Essentially, one group of people’s idea of heaven is another group’s idea of hell. And vice-versa, to be fair.
My brother-in-law, who served as host, is an extrovert’s extrovert. He is something of a celebrity, having coached the local Little League all-star baseball team to three Little League World Series finals appearances, including two final games and one championship around ten year’s ago, defeating a team from Japan in the finals. Even though he has devoted his adult life to coaching boy’s baseball teams, he himself has two daughters and no sons.
My niece and her husband are having a boy, by the way – in case the photo didn’t give it away – which makes my oldest stepdaughter’s expected girl (due in October as well) the only girl in that generation so far. Her “gender reveal” was a few weeks ago to 6 of us, and I legitimately cried when I found out she was having a girl. I have three stepdaughters, but they came into my life as teens — I’ve never had a baby girl in my life, and didn’t think I ever would.
My ex-wife and I lost a baby girl deep into term who sometimes visits me in dreams. At least, I think that’s her, judging from the almost painful amount of love I feel for her in that world. “Grace” her name would have been.
My transgendered child (born a boy), who is twenty-two, jokingly said there couldn’t have been a gender reveal there before age eighteen, finding the whole concept disturbing, and choosing not to come. Which I understand.
It’s strange to me that children seem so comfortable with me, because I wasn’t that crazy about kids when I was one, and never thought I would become the kind of man who kids gravitate towards. I treat kids the way I do cats — i.e., I never try to get them to come to me by making a lot of noise and fuss. I was afraid of strangers as a kid, and I assume kids will be.
Now that I come to think of it, I kind of treat them all like they are introverts, because that’s how my mind works.
As I was leaving the party, I realized, every party is kind of a “character reveal” for the people in attendance. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law and their kids are really fine people, in many ways, and I’m glad I was there to share in the experience, even if a smaller crowd is more to my taste.
So here’s to new parents- and grandparents-to-be — and I’d get rid of that poison oak before that little boy is all up in it.