I’m a fan of a good egg salad sandwich. And I’m willing to bet that the best egg salad sandwiches are found at a baby shower. You know the kind – cut into triangles, often crustless, made with mayo…not miracle-whip. Yup! Those are the ones! So in the interest of enjoying ‘said’ sandwiches, I am often willing to shell out an average of $100 at Babies R’Us to fit into the baby shower crowd. You know the kind – often early thirties, mom’s themselves, happy to have several hours set aside to drink wine without their own kids crying in the background. Yup! Those are the ones!
So, where is this blog going you’re asking? No, I’m not about to share a Pinterest board of sandwich recipes and photos of the cute little cake-kabobs in the shape of a baby’s bum, I’m actually about to raise a point or two about how so much of our society has giving and generosity confused with receiving and subconscious expectations.
If I were truly going to attend a baby shower to ONLY see the baby and share in the excitement of his or her birth, I, A) wouldn’t print off the Babies R’ Us registry list and after scouring the store for a practical gift end up choosing my item by ‘awesome gift-giver’ price range anyway. B) I wouldn’t secretly judge when I could swear that some of the other gifts were from the dollar store (especially when I am a huge fan of the dollar store!). And c) I wouldn’t need to walk away feeling confident that my gift represented my exceptional friendship status with the new mom. Sigh…
It’s going to take time to change a culture that grew up on needing positive acknowledgement for almost everything, including any act of giving. In fact, I can clearly remember that the paintings I made with my kindergarden hands were given to my parents not only to make them happy to have received them, but equally for the satisfaction I got from watching them get stuck to the fridge with the banana magnet. It’s not easy to remove our faulty sense of what giving should feel like, when we are accustomed to being acknowledged for it. Many of us have even been taught that it’s only ‘polite’ to return the giving gesture, rather than just be thankful…am I right? So with that being said I’m pretty sure that Hallmark won’t be discontinuing their ‘thank you card’ line any time soon, when they make millions on how we inherently have difficulty in trusting that the root of giving comes from love…not from the need for acknowledgement.
So, I challenge you to check your motives next time you are out buying a gift for someone, and if a need for something in return is there (whether in the form of social acknowledgement or a thank you card), I bet you an egg salad sandwich that your gift isn’t truly rooted in love.