Dozens of them covered the dining room table and taunted me with their delicious
insides that held the secret that I had been waiting to learn for four months. Dixon
Ayrton or Claire Olive? Were we having a boy or a girl? I woke up with an energy
high more than eight hours before I was going to find out.
So I acted like they didn’t exist. With more than thirty friends and family in
attendance, the small gathering for our Gender Reveal Party had grown into a major
logistical event that had to be moved from our apartment to our gracious host
location at the Castillo residence (special thanks to soon-to-be grandparents
Ellis and Gabriela for bringing 30 chairs, setting up, taking down and just being the best).
People logged onto Skype and got stuck in mad traffic and flew in from out of town to attend,
which was a bit overwhelming when I considered that me and Nikol could have just had the doctor tell us the gender, in private, a few days earlier and then Tweeted it out or whatever. This way was more fun, though.
Pinterest generation, invented by Etsy crafters and photographers looking for
business during the wedding offseason. It’s amazing and I highly recommend it to
any expecting parents – especially if you use decorations from Brittany at Eat.Plan.Love Events
– but in the grand scheme of our own personal first child experience, whether we
were welcoming Dixon or Claire really didn’t even register.
Every guest wrote down their prediction for either a boy or a girl, but the only
person who hit the nail on the head was 2-year old Sophia, who said, “Umm… it’s
going to be a baby.” The perfect answer. What would the gender matter, as long as
our child turned out to be, in fact, a baby? She’s a tiny Socrates, that one.
thing in the world? I had been putting it out of my mind all day, but as I wrapped
up a quick speech and looked at Nikol and the cupcake and peeled off the foil, an
unspeakable magnitude of the moment smacked me in the head and I literally
almost lost my breath. Nikol and I somehow regained our composure and each took
a bite to find a yellow candy filling inside. Tears followed.
I genuinely don’t think that Nikol or I had any preference about the gender. I did,
however, call that our first child would be a girl when we first dared to discuss the
subject more than five years ago. So I think we may have gotten used to the idea of
raising a girl, since I was so adamant. In that sense there is probably some relief that
the child we have been picturing together for so long was right on the money.
Whatever it was, we needed a second to break down in public before we could
fully process the news. Holding Nikol in that moment was another one of the most
beautiful feelings I’ve had in my entire life – though that’s a list that I’m sure will
change drastically in the next year, and after a split-second of crying she seemed
more interested in getting the frosting off her fingers. I can’t blame her. Erica once
again came through with the most delicious and perfect cupcakes when we asked.
I’m eating one right now and my laptop keys are all sticky. Erica rocks, thank you Two Sweet Cupcakes!
My parents rock, too, and they both had tricks up their sleeve. My dad and his green (boy) t-
shirt left the party after the announcement and he re-emerged in a yellow (girl)
one, which cracked me up. My sister, my mom and her husband Todd literally blew
Nikol’s mind when they gave us a dish hand-painted with Claire’s initials. Funny and
caring moments like that were littered throughout the day and brought everything
Definitely yes. That’s as far as I can go, because I can’t explain what I’m feeling that’s
different or why it is so. It just is. I don’t expect to have it figured out anytime soon,
but the answer is yes, it feels very different knowing that Claire is going to be joining
us soon. The desire to raise a bright and inquisitive girl into a strong and confident
woman is there, practically all the time since Saturday, and I guess that’s probably a
different feeling than the one I would be having if we were having a boy. Maybe not?
I don’t know.
But that is a different topic for another blog entry. For now we have the knowledge
that Claire Olive ZumMallen is on the way, and the warmth of a support network
that we’re reminded is larger and more amazing than I ever could have imagined.
Claire will be welcomed into her home with Dad and Mom, and two lady pets, and a
steady stream of aunts and no uncles. If I were a paranoid man, I would worry about
estrogen overload. But that’s not what matters. What matters is that she’s a baby.