With family in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States, my husband and I decided to have our baby shower in Nashville, TN. It gave us and our loved ones feasible road trips or direct flights and let me return to the city where I went to college. I spent three weeks researching venues and caterers, and the best deal came from a place I already supported and had dreamed of visiting: Thistle Farms.
We arrived at The Cafe at Thistle Farms on a cloudy Sunday afternoon in early March. As my family added baby decorations to the space, I paused at the outside wall of painted purple foliage I had seen only in pictures.
Though sickness, distance, and threat of snow had sadly prevented some friends and relatives from attending, the entrance’s iconic fixture of teacups, the bathroom soap’s familiar-to-me scent of citrus wood, and the cafe’s long table for sitting together grounded me in the peaceful conviction of being in the right space for this moment.
The buffet’s ceramic dining plates struck me and not only because I liked the speckled design. I later reflected that neither my wedding nor my multiple moving away parties had non-disposable tableware, that I don’t know if or when job security might end my pattern of leaving communities I love and rarely being physically present with the people closest to me. But the connections made, like the ceramic plates, are not lost just because an event or season of life is over: their cherished gleam can be brought out again and again.
Nourished by beauty and love as much as by food, I felt a quiet happiness throughout the celebration: happy for the new life that inspired this gathering, happy for the support and encouragement of loved ones present and absent, happy for the healing Thistle Farms foments in my life and in the lives of women I may never meet.
photos taken by Sissy Dinkle