The first time I heard the phrase “Sip & See” was almost 5 years ago. One of my very good friends was eight months pregnant with her third baby when her beloved two year old son accidentally drowned. We were (and still are) devastated. A couple of months later, she privately gave birth to Betsy - taking her time to grasp the loss of one life and to give hope to another. We all shared the feelings of simultaneously being happy and sad for this birth. However, this new life needed to be honored so her family threw a Sip & See - an event that takes place after the birth of a baby - guests come to meet the baby, congratulate the mother and have some refreshments. Baby Betsy was celebrated at a very nice country club with about a hundred unwrapped gifts displayed on rows and rows of tables. Guests were able to walk around and view the wonderful offerings that were given with love to the first girl in the family. There were trays of food and drinks passed around by servers and a piano player. It was a very nice environment to surround both mom and baby at a time when we all needed a little joy in our lives.
Recently I was invited to my first “Sip & Three”. Cute play on words. I saved the invite because it was very sweet and clever (but sorry, I can’t find it to show you). The timing was perfect as two sisters (in-laws) had a total of three babies in July within weeks of each other. Joey, the only boy in three families, was born first. Followed by the twin girls, Sigrid (a.k.a. Siggy) and Patrice. The venue was at a different country club and the event had a more casual feel to it. Delightful trays of food and treats were laid out for all to enjoy at any time which matched the format of an open house style - guests came and left at various times. Many of us were able to hold one, two and maybe even three of the babies at one point or another passing them around so the new mamas could have a break and we could get our share of the baby smell. The wrapped gifts were left behind for the celebrants to open later. It was a wonderful social gathering, in a sweet setting, that formally welcomed the newest members of society.
Well instead of going to CA months ago for a baby shower, I opted to throw a Sip & See this past Saturday for my sister-in-law who had Rowan Grace in February. When I was creating the invites I reached out to my cousin’s wife to make sure they would be able to attend because their family alone was a big chunk of the guest list. They have four boys under the age of six. She had mentioned that with sports schedules she would try her best especially because only 3 members of our extended family had met Reece, her fourth boy, who was born in November! Easily, I turned the event into a Sip & See for both babies. Well, a day or two later I was reminded that one of the boys in our family, Jared, was turning 18 years old and it was suggested that we celebrate his birthday as well. Heck ya! The event morphed into a “Sip, See & Be Free”. I just made that up. It works because being 18 years old is a little taste of freedom, right? I had to keep the event simple with a venue that the families could enjoy (thanks to my cousin who has a beautiful pool), catered food by The Taco Lady, cakes and drinks. Well, the planning for this event was unlike the two events I mentioned earlier. I found myself ordering cakes the day before and in a panic, I bought 5 cakes because I couldn’t decide on the flavors. Also, the day before the party, I decided to check Pintrest for help on how to give gift cards to each celebrant. BIG MISTAKE! Oh man, I totally, totally felt less than human when I started to look thru the wonderful posts. I should have done much more to make this event super special. I wanted to get into my car and drive to Michael’s to get all the supplies I needed to create the best Sip, See & Be Free EVER. However, reality set in and I realized in order to fulfill this fantasy of offering cute games and gift displays I was going to need a car, which I didn’t have and I was going to need time, which I also didn’t have. It was very tough to let go of my ideal party after I saw all the things on Pintrest but I had no choice. Fortunately for me, I knew all the guests that were invited and I knew they were all pretty laid back. I thought about it and whether I went all Pintresty or not, the result would still be the same: We would have fun and enjoy our time together. So I decided to do the best I could with what I had and just as it always does, everything worked out. There were no frills and no fuss. Instead, it was pure family time.
Besides being 18 yrs old and having new freedom, I feel like the “Be Free” in the newly made up phrase Sip, See & Be Free could have a couple more meanings. It could mean being free of trying to do too much when I already had a heavy load. Or it could describe my family being “free” with our really loud, crazy and wonderful conversations that day. Yes, I like it! I just put a new spin on Sip & Sees.