IMR: 1998: January: 21 -- Wednesday, 11:50 p.m.
Our Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i

[ Shower (76k) ]With little notice and even less planning, there was a miniature baby shower for Jen this afternoon. It was actually Donica's idea, tossed out last week during one of our rare phone conversations, and came together nicely for something so modest.

It was held at the peak dinner rush at the Sizzler's in Waikiki. Service was mediocre, but the company made up for that.

Kim, nursing a month-old cold, didn't make it, and neither did Tysen, similarly afflicted. Nonetheless, it was good to get together with those friends that were healthy.

Of course William was there. Donica brought Jason (her beau of two years and sports editor for the Sun Press papers), and Mio came as well. Even my mother and brother made an appearance.

Unlike previous gatherings, shop talk -- gossip related to Ka Leo, the Star-Bulletin, various television stations, etc. -- wasn't too heavy. We did marvel at how fast word gets around among journalists in this town, from new hires out of the Journalism department to Micheal's latest career move to the pending nuptials of Vickie and Fran, colleagues of long, long ago.

But we also talked about movies and books, pregnancy and parenthood, and compared the lives of the working class to that of academia.

After exchanging grievances, I think the working class came out on top.

As the food slowly disappeared, Jen opened gifts. Honestly, none were expected -- the gathering was billed more as a casual dinner -- but Mio, Donica and Jason and mom went all out anyway.

Mio gave us the cutest baby clothes and a pack of newborn diapers. As a veteran babysitter, she said we'd quickly come to appreciate the latter most. Donica and Jason also gave us a couple of outfits as well as a blinking and beeping rattle. Mom wrapped up some baby shirts, mittens and a waffle-weave blanket (reminding some of us of our long-outgrown security blankets). She also gave Jen a seperate gift: a pair of frilly silk nightgowns.

To top it all off, mom made "favors," which were essentially boquets of Tootsie Rolls with bows on top.

Jen recently observed that mom is really really getting into the grandmother thing. And from the leis at the wedding to tonight's simple candy tokens, it humbles me to see how much effort she invests to make things special and memorable for us.

After dropping William off at the dorm, Jen and I headed to Ala Moana to spend her $100 bonus from work. We got a foam "bath aid" (supposedly preferred over expensive plastic tubs), a breast pump and one of those snazzy Diaper Genies.

Breast pumps. Now that was a shopping experience. We hit both JC Penney's and Sears, simply plopping on the carpet at the latter to pore over boxes, comparing price, features, extras. We selected an adaptable battery-/AC-powered model from Gerber, priced at $45. The runner up was cheaper, but the box copy was entirely in French and it wasn't UL listed.

The Diaper Genie was an impulse buy. Obviously the fancy contraption -- featuring an 'endless bag' and a twist-to-seal collar -- is a bit of a luxury. A stack of old grocery bags would do just fine. But we've always been fascinated by the thing. It'll be fun to use... for the first two or three diapers, at least.

We took all the loot up to Mililani.

Now, over the weekend, I had assembled the crib, and mom and I had gone shopping for assorted neccessities -- crib sheets, washcloths, tiny nail-clippers -- in a priceless afternoon of mother-son bonding.

With those goodies, plus the goodies acquired today and at Jen's send off at Tower on Monday, plus the many goodies inherited from my cousin Jennifer (including Big Stuff like the car seat, bassinette, baby carrier, bottle sterilizer and much more)... the whole living room was cluttered with baby gear.

In all, there must be three hundred pounds of stuff sitting and waiting for Katie's arrival. Stepping back, seeing a department-store's worth of supplies, took my breath away. I couldn't believe a frail, 6-pound infant required so much stuff.

I couldn't believe how undeservedly fortunate we were, to have all this support.

Just a few nights ago, Jen and I had a good cry. A moment of natural, fleeting panic. But it wasn't entirely a fear of not being able to handle parenthood. We were just overwhelmed by the many many things our friends and family have been doing for us. We were dumbstruck by all the gifts, hand-me-downs, advice and attention we've been getting... for no better reason than people inexplicably care about us.

We don't know why. We can't bring ourselves to believe we deserve these blessings.

We get dizzy, knowing we could never adequately express our appreciation. This tidal wave of priceless support has allowed us to remain hopeful, excited, happy. We couldn't have made it this far without it.

And if anything, that's what scares us.

They say the support of family is infinite and has no end. They say that true friends will go to the ends of the earth for you, knowing you'd do the same for them. But we sometimes shiver thinking about where we'd be today without all this help. And we are sometimes terrified at the prospect of it running out.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 21 January 1998 · Last Modified: 22 January 1998