As I write this, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
My wife and I had a baby shower over the weekend, one which I had actually been looking forward to for weeks. I had no idea what to expect, since I had never been to one.
When we were planning this event, I started out by inviting everyone I could think of. This was supposed to be the shower that would enable all of our friends, co-workers and acquaintances to enjoy the impending arrival of our child with us.
I must admit, I went a little crazy with my portion of the invitation list. I think my list reached around 300 people, before I was told to cut it down.
We ended up giving a much more manageable tally of names -- about 50 or so -- to the friends who planned the shower. I didn't know who would be able to come, and who wouldn't, but I was trying to remain positive.
I knew there were some people who would be coming, no matter what. My mom had been looking forward to the shower, since the moment we mentioned it to her.
As the day drew closer, I was elated by the names of people who were coming, and a bit deflated by some of those who weren't. Still, I knew some of our friends were planning to be there.
Then, on the day before the shower, it happened.
I got a text message from my sister, telling me my mother had to go to the hospital.
I didn't know very many details. All I knew was, she wasn't feeling well, and her doctor sent her to an emergency room.
I left work a few minutes early, and headed straight home to pick up my wife, so we could go to see my mother.
For most of the ride, I was feeling horrible. I had been obsessing about who was or wasn't coming to the shower, yet my mom was lying in a hospital bed, saddened by the possibility of missing the whole thing.
I realized how selfish I had been, and felt like the worst person on earth.
Fortunately, my mom was only required to stay at the hospital overnight for observation, and came home in time to attend the shower. It was the icing on a cake that also included several long-time friends, whom my wife and I love dearly.
They showered us with gifts, with hugs, with greeting cards and with their love. We didn't have the biggest crowd I've ever seen, and there were definitely more people I would have loved to see there.
But the shower, and this pregnancy, is not about me. It's not about who can or can't make it to a shower, and it's not about how many gifts we get.
It's about this child, this gift from God which we could never have deserved. As an added bonus, we get to share this time in our lives with people whose love and support we, also, could never deserve.
I came away from the experience realizing, once again, how blessed I truly am. I cannot wait to share my little girl's life with these cherished friends and family members, and for them to love her, and be loved by her.
Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.