The invitation from my daughter was sweet and unexpected: come along with her and her husband to her 20-week ultrasound. Even more unexpected was what was to happen afterwards.
I would run a sealed envelope with the gender of the baby ensconced inside over to a bakery. The baker, in the privacy of his kitchen, would open up this secret dispatch. Then, accordingly, he would bake a cake that was either pink or blue inside. It would be covered in chocolate, with a question mark on top.
And then there would be a "gender reveal party," a phrase that every bakery now knows even though the practice is new to the older among us.
When this daughter was born, my husband and I, too, wanted to be surprised even though my doctor already knew the answer from amniocentesis. But when I entered the examining room around the seventh month for a routine visit, the chart was lying open on the table, and I saw this:
No way could I keep this a secret from my husband for two more months. So I immediately bought a pair of tiny pink Winnie the Pooh PJs, put it in a plain white box and handed it to him that night.
I'm now just back from the modern-day iteration of this unveiling.
Friends arrived at my daughter's place. Her husband set up a "google hangout" so that siblings, nephews and nieces in faraway cities could watch. And then, the not-yet parents gingerly sliced into the cake.
Five hours away, an eight-year-old niece cried. Her older brother punched his fist in the air.
The couple kissed. Either way, they would have kissed.