My first nephew was born just over 12 years ago, and through marriages I’m now the proud aunt of four darling nephews on all sides of my family. We don’t see them enough, but they are the greatest joys to our life and we really enjoy the time we get to spend with them all. My sister found out she was pregnant on my birthday this year, but waited until the next day to tell me. She had sent a big bouquet of fresh flowers over from Farmgirl Flowers the day after my birthday, and texted me right as I was opening them with the news. Bursting with happiness for her and my brother-in-law and staring at a huge armload of blooming flowers, I guessed then it was a girl. This may be the last child either of mine or Eric’s sisters have, so I thought I would crawl out of my skin with excitement when I heard I guessed right and we were finally getting a niece!
Jen was hosting a baby shower cookout on her and my brother-in-law’s farm and asked if I could be there. Eric was actually heading to Pigeon Forge, TN, for a bachelor party that weekend, so we worked out the travel details so I could essentially drop him off at the cabin and drive the rest of the way myself. After dropping him off to a cabin of very excited groomsmen, I drove through the mountains in the dark to the Best Western in the nearest town to my sister.
Even with a looming due date, my sister was still selling bouquets of her own flowers and artwork at the Pikesville Farmers Market across the ridge on Saturday mornings and I wanted to see her in action. I thought I was a little late when I pulled up, before checking my phone and realizing Pikesville was obviously just on the other side of the Central time zone border, giving me an extra hour. I walked through the local credit union’s drive-through ATM (the only one in town) and grabbed some cash for my own shopping. I found Jen’s booth but she was talking to a customer, so I walked the little market by myself and bought a few things to take back.
I went back to the town I was staying in to grab some lunch from Krystal (my personal holy grail for out-of-town fast food I can’t get in Charlotte) and took it back to the hotel. I tried to get to Jen’s a little early so I could help set up for the shower, taking the long narrow road with the windows down. The farm was beautiful and she had set up tables out under the huge chestnut trees in the front yard. Her mom and sister-in-law were there to catch up with, as was her best friend who spent many hours playing with me growing up alongside my sister. I got to see her hard work firsthand in the stunning rows of flowers that make up Jypsy Flower Farm and went for a walk around each patch. As someone who has killed two houseplants this year, I’m in total awe at my sister’s green thumbs and felt like I had walked into The Secret Garden.
My brother-in-law grilled up about a thousand hamburgers and hot dogs for the gathering crowd and we all sat outside with the kids until the evening. We watched the first time girl-parents open their gifts and guessed who the baby would look more like. When the sun went down, we pulled out some glow sticks and attached them to the babies running around the fields so we could easily keep track of them all. We cleaned up the mess and sometime well after midnight, I needed to drive back down the mountain and get some sleep.
I picked a sleep-deprived Eric back up at his Pigeon Forge cabin Sunday morning and we made the long drive back together, stopping to take in the view. I can’t wait to visit Tennessee again when Emma Belle is finally here, hopefully next month!