I don't go to baby showers.
Doesn't matter who, when, or whether it's a boy or a girl.
I don't like them. So I don't go.
My sister Jessica, who is one of my best friends, is having a baby girl right around the same time Ella was due. Even though it's not my beloved sister's fault for the way these events have unfolded, it is still salt on an open wound. I hope she'll forgive my honesty.
Her shower was last night.
And I was expected to go.
I didn't want to. I didn't want to be the one sitting in the corner, holding back tears, watching everyone gush and coo and awe over all the pretty little girl things she was bound to receive. I didn't want to be the one everybody had to tip-toe around and wonder if Amy's about to explode.
During the drive out to Mesa, I thought a lot about my self-pity.
Sometimes I imagine that Ella is beside me, somewhere nearby, offering me words of encouragement during times that are especially difficult. I don't know if these musings are the truth. I hope they are. I feel like they are.
In the car I had one of those moments.
I dried my tears.
I was not going to allow my grief to ruin this happy occasion for Jessica, who hurts for her big sister and also mourns Ella's loss.
Still, I arrived at my mom's house (the venue for the event) with a bad attitude. But by and by, the longer I was with my family, the more time I spent with the people that mean so much to me, I felt my mood lift.
Not only could I hold it together, but I could even have a good time.
I'll admit I cast a few jealous looks at the girl who brought her 10 month old daughter. And I still felt like had an obvious mark on me, the "baby widow." But I was treated normal, which was what I wanted. And my fears of completely losing it were completely unfounded. I was able to smile.
I skipped the present-opening part. I lounged with my brother in the other room watching tv and playing Angry Birds on my phone. And I was content.
After everyone left, I went to get some food with my friend, who is also a friend of my sister's and a guest at the shower. She said I needed a pick-me-up. In all honesty, I felt totally fine. I wasn't moping or crying or even sad. But we went anyway. I got some onion rings and had a lovely talk with her.
Afterwards, I chatted and laughed too loud with my mom and sisters. It was fabulous. Fabulous people just make for fabulous moments, it's a scientific fact. The night ended up a happy one.
I feel like Ella was with me last night. Even if I was talking about something else, or thinking more about passing another level on Angry Birds, or laughing with my family. I had fun. I didn't cry. I got through it.
And the most important part of all: my sister had a wonderful party and got lots of lovely things for her sweet girl.
My girl isn't here.
But she's mine.
And she's perfect.
And she'll always be here when I need her.