When I was expecting my daughter, the woman who lived on the houseboat next to us asked me about my baby shower. I told her that I wasn’t having one. This was unacceptable to my kind neighbor, so she threw me a shower herself. Helen Miller was that kind of person. Married to a fireman, mother of two grown daughters and two grandchildren, she was a friendly but fairly private person. That she went out of her way to throw me a real baby shower touched me deeply.
She pulled out all the stops. There was a cake shaped like a baby sweater, matching cups and plates, and fruit punch. We played silly baby shower games. The only one I remember involved guessing how many sheets of toilet paper it would take to wrap around my late pregnancy self.
She invited a few neighbors, her daughters and my mother. My mother came for the shower, the only time she visited the houseboat moorage. Still, Helen supplied plenty of maternal care and attention. We only knew each other as neighbors, and I never saw her after we moved on land. But she stepped in to supply a need I didn’t even know I had. A party to celebrate my coming baby!