About five and a half years ago, when I was pregnant with the Blonde Bombshell, I had a baby shower. All my friends and family were invited and we did all the usual things, eat lots and play silly games, watch me unwrap presents, all laugh at funny photos of ourselves as babies.
But together, they also made me the best baby present ever.
I cannot remember how the idea came about, I probably pinched it from someone. But when everyone arrived I told them to grab a piece of felt and a letter and to make me a panel for an alphabet quilt.
I started the ball rolling with R for Rabbit, as we had a pet bunny at the time. He had a very clever name: Bunny.
My brother-in-law sent strict instruction with my sister to make a M for Money panel. He thought it important that our baby learn about this important commodity from day 1.
In my father's absence [most blokes weren't invited], Mum made a G for Golf panel. Although dodgy hips and back had forced him to stop playing years earlier, it was still something we associated with him.
My Grandma directed the making of H is for Hat, as she belonged to a generation of ladies who wore such things.
My friend Jacinta, made J is for Jellybeans, a beautiful cascade of lollies spilling over the panel.
My friend Brad, the only male who warranted an invite, created a B is for Button panel. Being a typical male, he didn't stop at mere decoration, but made it interactive and functional.
My friend Helen made Y is for Yacht. In recognition of the fact that the Rottnest swim due to be held that day, had been cancelled for the first time ever due to bad weather, she christened the yacht the HMAS Rotto. A day in history, forever immortalised in felt.
My mother-in-law and sister-in-law created a number of panels including N is for Numbers. Years later, the Bombshell would count the numbers, first to baby Mop and then later to Baldy Baby. She is a born teacher.
My Aunty Di, a keen quilter, naturally made Q is for Quilt, and laughingly pieced it in Fremantle Dockers colours knowing it would offend other members of the family.
26 extraordinary pictures, brought to life by family and friends. Each square holds a memory and a story. The Sub chose S is for Sunflower. In her absence, Tania's mother created her a T is for Teddybear square.
That day also happened to be my mother's birthday, but instead of acknowledging this, she instead asked me to talk about my beautiful Grandma, and the fact that 59 years previously, she was in labour for the first time. Life was very different then, a baby shower would have been unthinkable. But it created an unbreakable bond between us, at least on my part, an unbroken line of women, birthing daughters.
At the end of the party, my mum took all the pieces away to sew together.
What she returned with was this:
This incredible quilt has now decorated the nursery for three babies. And almost every night, for the past five years, I sit and look at it while I am feeding and comforting my children. I smile at the memories, laugh at the stories, and remain grateful for every person who contributed to it.
Best. Baby. Shower. Ever.
Excuse the dodgy photography... I snuck in to take photos while the baby was asleep, so I was shooting in the dark. Yeah, it probably could have waited until she was awake, but I seem to have inherited impatience from my daughters.