Downpour and road closure fail to put a damper on a memorable celebration

A time to cherish: The columnist at her baby shower.

ALTHOUGH my pregnancy is challenging, I still delight in the experience. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I am certain I will miss it after my baby is born.

Expecting a child is such a joy that celebrations begin even before the child arrives. They certainly take the edge off the nine months’ arduous journey for a first-time expectant mother like me.

In some cultures, a baby shower is held for the family’s first child and only women (and girls) are invited. Armed with well-wishes and thoughtful gifts for the mummy-to-be and her yet-to-be-born baby, activities for the party include feasting, opening of gifts and playing games.

In this case, my sister-in-law prepared a gift registry at all Mothercare outlets for our guests to pick their items while my good friend, Tiff, volunteered to organise the intimate gathering of family members and friends.

As I wanted the baby shower to be a memorable event and relate to my own childhood, I chose a restaurant at St. Mary Residences as it is a redevelopment project, and the kindergarten I attended, used to be there.

The tea-time party had a good spread of pastas, hors d’oeuvres and 10 of my favourite desserts carefully prepared by chefs Steve and Sandy.

Thoughtful and artistic Tiff decorated the restaurant tastefully with pink balloons, pompoms, party novelties, masks and crowns, and even set up a photo booth. Cute little cards cut into the shape of onesie (jumpsuit worn by baby) were at hand for guests to pen their well-wishes.

She even made me wear a sash that reads “I’m a mummy” and pinned hand-made flower corsages on TH (my husband, known as “the husband”), the two pairs of grandparents-to-be and I, with our new respective titles.

The party was to start at 3pm on that beautiful Sunday afternoon on March 15. Our parents were supposed to arrive an hour earlier to catch up before the guests arrived.

But alas, little did we know that our event coincided with the Le Tour de Langkawi cycling race and the three roads leading to this area — Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan P. Ramli — would be closed to traffic from 2pm to 4pm.

None of us was aware of the road closure so we frantically called our guests to inform them of our predicament and that the event was rescheduled to 4.30pm.

We were marooned on this piece of property hidden behind Menara Weld and between Menara Hap Seng and Bangunan MAS. The whole city was jammed with cars with the exception of our area where not a single car moved. None of our guests could get here and we could not get out.

Traffic standstill

Our guests called to apologise and inform us of the terrible traffic conditions they were in. Some of them went to cafes to wait out while others had to sit through the horrendous traffic which had come to a standstill.

My parents-in-law, however, were not so fortunate. My father-in-law made several detours trying to escape being caught in traffic, and accidentally drove into a low wall, damaging the bonnet and front bumper of his car but escaped injury.

To while away our time while waiting for our guests, my photographer friend, Lestony took many photos of us.

Thankfully, the road closure was lifted just before 4pm and guests began to arrive shortly after. It was no surprise that many rushed to the washrooms upon arrival! Among the early arrivals was Kechara Soup Kitchen president Datuk Ruby Khong. Just as she arrived at Jalan Sultan Ismail, the police closed the road. So she took another route, drove across the city to KL Sentral and got there two and a half hours later.

TH and I were moved that despite the setback, all invited guests except a handful had arrived by 5pm.

I was deeply touched by their gesture of not skipping our party to avoid the traffic and long wait on the road. Some of them, including my sister, Cheryl parked their cars a few blocks away and walked under the scorching sun to the venue.

The road closure and the consequent massive traffic jam were a blessing in disguise as these revealed the extent of love and support our friends and relatives have for us. They could have turned back and went elsewhere to enjoy their Sunday afternoon and left us with food catered for 50 guests.

The lesson I learnt from this episode was never forget to check for special circumstances that could disrupt an event. It pays to always remember that anything can happen.

Now that the baby’s room is ready and the gifts have arrived, I eagerly await her arrival next month, so I can embrace and tell her I love her.

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