When I walked into the library, expecting to see a waiting client, this happened.
That's right. There was no client. My sweet friend and coworker, Logan, had been weaving a web of lies and deception and planning me a surprise baby shower with all my coworkers. (And if you don't already know this about me, it's important to know that surprises are a special kind of love language for me. I am basically the real life version of Surprise Sue, so I rarely get the chance to pull off a good surprise. Being surprised, though? It sends me to the moon!)
She decorated the library in chic black and gold and had all my favorite treats, like cupcakes and doughnuts from my favorite shop in Jacksonville. She had even written emails instructing the rest of the staff to park on the other side of the building if they were bringing a gift in because my office window looks over the other parking lot and I would have seen everyone coming in with gifts. She thought of everything and pulled it off seamlessly and I don't think I stopped smiling for a solid day!
But that's not the only surprise I've been treated to this week! On Saturday, Natalie, one of R and I's oldest college friends, asked if I wanted to get brunch and then maybe sit by her friend's pool for a couple of hours to soak up the last of the summer sun. She asked if R would be willing to watch her 11 month old while we were out, and much to my surprise, he said sure. So I planned on low key morning of catching up with her poolside and thought nothing more of it.
Instead of driving to the brunch place though, she drove us out to the Spa at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club and informed me that we would be getting manicures and pedicures and then enjoying lunch at the spa cafe and lounging next to the pool here instead. We spent the entire day in spa robes, getting pampered and catching up with out even the hint of a schedule or an agenda. It was so relaxing and indulgent and such a wonderful afternoon of girl time!
You see, I'll be really honest. These surprises would have been so special all on their own, but last week I was feeling especially low. I was supposed to have a baby shower here in Jax, hosted by Natalie actually, and we ended up canceling it because only three people RSVP'd. There's no hit to your self esteem quite like only three people saying they'd like to come out and celebrate you and your baby. Now, I know we are loved by more than three people and there were some legitimate reasons that some people couldn't make it, but try explaining that to yourself when you're nine months pregnant and hormonal and feeling all the feels.
And it wasn't so much about the shower or the turnout. It had a lot more to do with feeling alone in a pretty new and scary chapter of our lives. We're far from home and family and that means we are far from the people who you can usually count on to be real with. You know, the people who can come to your house and not judge it when it's messy or care if you've showered or not. The people who don't bat an eye when you get snippy with your husband in front of them because they've seen the good and the bad in you. The people who know how to help without asking and the people you go to when you need help that you feel nervous asking for. Those people, those friends and family that we all have that reside deep in the inner circles of our lives, are our tribe.
And R and I are far from our tribe.
So last week, when only three people RSVP'd to my shower, I felt really far from my tribe. I worried that when the going gets tough after our daughter is born, on the days when I really need to be able to ask for help or to be raw about how I am feeling, that I will be alone.
A spa day and a sneaky surprise shower (and an upcoming brunch with some sweet girls from church) have shown me something important, though. It's not about showers and RSVP's and gifts. It's about who shows up when you need them. And I realized that though we are far from our long standing tribe, we've created a new tribe, too. It's made up of people who may not have known us in every season, but people who have gotten to know us in this season. It's made up of friendships we've taken with us on our travels, our friends from college and from Virginia and now Jax, who we've had the blessing of crossing paths with for a short time yet who have stuck with us for the long haul.
And most importantly, this week, I realized it's made up of quality over quantity.
Our new tribe might not be big. We might not have a huge turnout when we plan a shower, but I have a feeling that the ones who are here are here for better or for worse. After being surprised twice this week, I'm feeling the opposite of alone in this new mama season. I'm feeling deeply loved and cared for and blessed that there are friends who go out of their way to make sure I know I'm loved and cared for.
And if you are reading this and you are responsible for planning a sneaky spa day or a clandestine work shower...ahem...you know who you are... then I hope you know that your effort and your planning spoke deeply to my heart. Thank you for being in my tribe.