This is where our geekiness and becoming parents really collided in the best way.
Ryan and I come up with good ideas all the time, if you ask us. One of the few things we argue about, and have for the past 11 years, is who came up with a certain idea. Sometimes we remember it accurately and give the person the credit, but generally, we think up something together and then each claim sole responsibility. It is our greatest flaw. However, we’re willing to overlook that, often adding that “next time I’m going to write down my ideas,” and move forward with the brilliant plan.
This was one such brilliant plan.
I told Ryan about the whole Gender Reveal fad. I showed him pictures of cakes with surprise centers and balloons coming out of boxes. He liked the idea. I said we should do something geeky somehow for ours. Then one of us, maybe Ryan, thought up the perfect plan.
For this, we turned to Ultra Sabers.
We purchased a lightsaber, paying extra for sound because Ryan insisted, with a very special feature. It was programmable. We originally thought of simply having Ryan’s sister, Juliet, place an order for a blue or red lightsaber for us. This would have involved mailing her the gender envelope from the ultrasound technician, her placing the order, then either having it shipped to us with no outer markings of any kind, or bringing it from Arizona to Chicago herself. Complicated, but doable. The programmable saber, however, saved us some steps. Juliet flew up for the big reveal anyway, and we handed her the envelope an hour before the party. We taught her how to change the color of the lightsaber via the computer program it came with. We agonized over the right shade of hot pink, but blue was just 100% blue.
But that wasn’t all. As I said before, given the chance to go big or go home, we go big.
So, we threw a party at our house. The problem there was that friends and family all over the country wanted in on the big moment. What’s a geeky couple to do? Live Stream the event, of course! We created a channel on Ustream.com and publicized the link to our friends and family.
107 people (maybe more, that was just counting computers) tuned in to watch. Consider us flattered!
We also put together a Diaper Raffle (donate a pack of diapers, get tickets for a prize) and a 50/50 Raffle ($1 per ticket to guess which gender. I made two jars, then the ticket would be drawn from the correct jar, and the winner got half the total money collected). The decorations were red and turquoise, including treats and drinks. We ordered enormous pizzas, put up balloons and streamers, the whole nine.
The morning of the party, I lumbered up the stairs hearing excited chatter in the living room. Ryan was up, Juliet was up, our friend, Jimmy, was there, and a voice I… wait… I rounded the corner. Sitting on the couch was Brian Finifter, the baby’s godfather, who flew in from LA in secret for the party, with an assist from Ryan. My jaw dropped, and I immediately ran into the kitchen because I was crying of surprise and happiness. I came back out and hugged him, proudly showing him how much bigger my belly had gotten since New Years. Amanda would be there that day, too, so both godparents would be present for the big moment. (Read this for the tale of how they became the godparents.) I was over the moon excited.
Time somehow flew and crawled simultaneously. There was so much to do, including testing the Live Stream, putting up the decorations, getting the food prepared, and so on. As the party time got near, I told Ryan we should give Juliet the envelope. She said, “I’ve had it for about an hour now.” I said, “You know?!? Oh, man, don’t look at me. I can’t stand it! Tell me. DON’T TELL ME! Ahhh!”
Friends filtered in. The pile of diapers grew taller. The raffle jars were getting filled with tickets. Jimmy stepped in and took over the ticket duties so I could go play hostess. I showed people our newly-painted but somewhat-empty nursery. We received two amazing diaper cakes, one from Juliet, one from the Castellanos. People ate, and talked, and happily speculated about what we’d have. I made a poster of old wives’ tales and what they predicted. I wore a turquoise floor-length maternity gown I made for a friend’s wedding and Ryan wore a red button-down shirt. We made our own predictions, then waffled, and decided we’d be happy no matter what.
The time had come. We stood behind the table, under the crepe paper and balloons, in front of the dark curtains. We dimmed the lights. Juliet handed us the lightsaber, saying, “It has been an honor to keep this from you.”
We held the lightsaber together, our thumbs on the button. Everyone counted down from 10.
Ten… Nine… Eight…
“It’ll be blue,” I thought. “For Papa.”
Seven… Six… Five…
“Or pink,” I thought. “A girl would be fun.”
Four… Three… Two… One…
We activated the lightsaber and a beautiful glow emanated from the shaft. BLUE.
Everyone screamed and cheered and then sang the Independence Day theme song (like we do). I screamed, Ryan cried, and then we just stared at the blue glow and grinned like idiots. Finally, I turned to him, “A boy!” I put my hand on my belly. He kissed me and held the lightsaber up in victory. We called Brian and Amanda over to take photos with us, and we all repeated, “a boy!” several times. The reprise of that happiness was the first time I called the baby “he” instead of “it.” Our phones started receiving texts of congrats from the people who had been watching via the stream, and we announced the raffle winners and gave out prizes.
I remember nothing after that. I floated through the rest of that day. I hope I was able to make conversation. I hope I thanked everyone for coming. I hope I wrote thank you notes for the gifts (I think I did). But I was dreaming all day of our baby boy, and reliving the moment we first lit his lightsaber.
Until next time… “That was a great game.”
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Filed under: Storytelling
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