I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. Nothing makes me happier than a well executed plan. A work project that exceeds expectations. A new recipe attempt that ends up mouth watering. The satisfaction of filling in both eye brows identically, rather than leaving the house looking like Uncle Leo (a Seinfeld reference my husband has been known to make, thanks to a runaway pencil).
So needless to say, when it came time to announce our second pregnancy, a picture perfect plan started to formulate in my mind. How about a gender reveal? A double whammy for our family and friends. I’ll be honest with you, the first time I heard the term “gender reveal,” I was on the road with the Lightning, covering the Stanley Cup playoffs. My photographer, who was expecting his first born later that year, was hoping the series would wrap up quickly because his wife already had their big party planned. Can you imagine? There we were inside Madison Square Garden, working side-by-side with the biggest sports networks in the country, and this guy was gushing about what color his cake would be. Insanity, I thought. What in the world could be more exciting than the hockey game before us? Certainly not a cake.
Oh, how wrong I was. As soon as I found out I was pregnant with Jack, I jumped on that millennial bandwagon and didn’t look back (I also apologized to my photographer for my merciless taunting). That first time around, we assembled our friends at our favorite restaurant and cut into a delicious cake of blue. Now, for baby number two, I wanted Jack to be a part of it. With each passing day, my plan became more and more elaborate: a confetti filled piñata, balloons and a candy bar. I bought a pretty new dress for myself and a pink tie for Jack. Throw in a professional photographer and this day was sure to be a success.
Now for those of you wondering (including pre-marriage me), the thought process behind this madness is simple. Being pregnant is hard. Being pregnant and getting up for work each day is really hard. And being pregnant and getting up for work each day when your job requires you to be outside in say a hurricane…well it’s no walk in the park. A little distraction wrapped in pink and blue mystery is just what the doctor ordered. By the way, I’m not kidding about the hurricane thing…
Which brings me to this past weekend. After numerous lunch breaks perusing Pinterest and Etsy, I had all the decorations ready for the small group of friends gathered on our back patio. Suspense hung in the air in the form of a giant paper mache heart. Places everyone! The countdown to what’s sure to become an adorable viral video is about to begin!
Except that’s not how it went down. Before we could start…before the cameras were even rolling…my perfect plan went awry. With Jack hoisted in his arms, my husband wandered carelessly under the piñata a moment too soon. The temptation of dangling ribbons quickly became too much for Jack to handle and in a flash, he reached up and pulled. I turned around to a chorus of quiet “oh no’s” and on the ground, a sprinkling of blue that could not be unseen.
For the first time in my life, I was speechless. The surprise was right there, scattered at my feet before I could even count to three. I will admit, I was a bit disappointed at the party fail. As the seconds of silence ticked by, I could not help but think of a video someone sent me the week before. It was of a woman taking her gender reveal balloon out to her car. As her two little boys trailed along behind her, one of them reached up and popped it. The soon-to-be mother of three calmly turned and went back inside without saying a word. It was hilarious! What a story to tell about how mischievously wonderful little boys can be. Then it dawned on me…was the premature piñata burst in my backyard ACTUALLY funny?
As I mulled it over, one of the guests shouted out “there’s still more confetti in there!” I looked up and sure enough, more blue was poking out of the piñata trap door. In my quest for perfection, I had ordered enough to stuff at least three pinatas. Six if you count the bags of pink I also handed over to the friend who would be secretly filling it. Maybe this picture perfect moment wasn’t completely lost after all. Reinvigorated, we began pulling at the strings and shaking that piñata for all it was worth. More and more blue confetti poured out. And when it stopped, our guests began grabbing fistfuls off the ground, merrily throwing it at us as we laughed and hugged and kissed our baby boy, completely over the moon knowing a second one was now on the way.
The reveal didn’t go as planned. It was far from the so-called perfect I had envisioned. But maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be when it comes motherhood. Sure, striving for perfection has gotten me far in my career. It’s one of the driving forces behind workplace success, right up there with ambition. But maybe it’s time for this working mama to leave that quality at the office. Don’t get me wrong. When it comes to family, I will always try my very best. And hopefully most days, things will go as planned. But if not, I now have a new mantra: there’s still more confetti in there! Shake it out and make it rain. Chances are, you’ll still get those perfect memories…the ones you’ve been waiting your whole life for.
Photo Credit: DV Fusion Photography