Julia's Gender Reveal

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It was a cold and cloudy afternoon, but I knew that wouldn't stop Julia. Smushy and I waited at the traffic light around the corner from the location of Julia's meticulously-planned gender reveal that she'd been working on for months.

I pulled into the parking lot of Mendoza Auto: the shop owned by Carlos' family. They had a big parking lot, which was the perfect size for a party of this magnitude.

I had a feeling Julia's apartment wasn't going to cut it, especially for the actual gender reveal portion, which I was told would be a burnout with a car.

Kids dressed in pink and blue were playing with hula-hoops on the pavement. Groups of people were clinking glasses and dancing to music. I saw Julia gathered with a crowd of people over by a guy who was grilling.

Pink and blue banners were everywhere, and there was a line of custom classic cars in the middle of the parking lot that family members were showing off to each other. One of them was Julia's station wagon. I kind of figured she was into cars based on her racing t-shirts and the fact that her boyfriend was a mechanic.

I parked Smushy and stepped out into the Ruffles or Race Cars themed gender reveal. I didn't even know you could have a theme within a theme for these things.

Mine was literally just a pink or blue color scheme. I almost felt a little embarrassed by our construction paper decorations now.

I walked over to the gift table and placed my box of diapers on the ground, since there was no more room. That was another thing I should've done: ask for diapers.

I got absolutely no diapers at my gender reveal, and they were something I desperately was going to need.

We felt bad for asking people to get gifts for both the gender reveal and baby shower, so we asked our guests to keep the gender reveal gifts to twenty dollars and less, which a lot of diapers weren't. Julia specifically sent out invitations with instructions to only bring diapers. Total missed opportunity for me.

I kept my distance and stood with my hands in the pockets of my shorts as I surveyed the table full of food. Carlos was Cuban, and I'd never seen any of this food before, but all of it looked delicious.

I grabbed a plate and started serving myself. I took a load of chicken with peppers, shredded pork, plantains, and rice with beans. Then I found an empty folding table with chairs and took my seat, away from everyone. 

Julia was the only person I knew here, because all of our cashier friends were at work. I had to go in for the closing shift in an hour, so I couldn't stay long.

I started eating every bite of delicious food that I could before someone sat down with me, which made me jump, but it was only Julia.

"Hey shy lady! I didn't even notice you came in!" she said.

Her smile was brighter than ever. She wore a pink t-shirt with a checkered racing tutu that matched the ribbons in her hair.

"You look so adorable that I can't even," I said, taking another bite of food. "Sorry I'm probably gonna miss the actual reveal. I hate closing."

She pouted. "But it still means a lot that my Bump Buddy came, even if you're rooting for boys. What is going on with your t-shirt?"

We both giggled together. My artist sibling found out about Cler's nickname for my car and drew something that she got printed onto a blue t-shirt.

"Oh my gosh, it's your car!" Julia said, laughing before she looked at what was written on the back. "Go Smushy, Go! That's the best thing I've seen all day."

"You can thank my sarcastic smartass of a sister for that one. She thinks she's real funny," I said. "When you said Ruffles or Racecars, I thought it would kinda fit because it's the only car-themed thing I own."

"I love it though! And it works perfectly for this kind of party. I mean, it's not quite a race car but it is still a car." She said, still giggling, then looked at my empty plate. "I can see you hated the food."

"Yeah, really hit the spot. I've been craving really salty stuff all day. Where did you guys get this catered from?" I asked.

"My boyfriend's abuela. The one and only." She got up and pulled me by the arm. "Let me introduce you to everyone!"

"Oh, it's okay, I don't—"

"I refuse to let you sit at a party by yourself. Come on!" she said, and I finally got up.

Julia brought me around to the many members of the Mendoza family, who showered me with hugs even though I'd just met them. Then I got a quick tour of the shop, where we stole some hidden popsicles from Carlos' freezer. It was chilly in the shop, so we found a warmer spot: the back of the station wagon.

"I can't believe this is the first time you've been inside of a station wagon," Julia said. "I mean, one as nice as this one."

"Or any car that has seats where you can sit across from each other. Or color changing lights," I said, taking a lick of my orange popsicle.

"I know, right? You can fit ten people in this baby! And all the seats fold down. We put sleeping bags in here and go camping, and do...other things," she said, her voice low.

"Eww! Julia!"

"What?" She shrugged. "You're telling me you've never done it in a car before?"

"Of course not! I'm only eighteen."

She chuckled. "What does age have to do with it? I'm just teasing you. Lighten up."

We both laughed together and I checked my phone, then let out a huge groan. I shifted around and put my hand on the car door.

"I gotta get to work. I'm late," I said, getting out.

"Okay, bye Bump Buddy!" she yelled as I ran across the parking lot. "Don't forget, I'm doing a separate gender reveal at the store party tomorrow!"

"I won't!" I yelled back.

I hopped into Smushy and pulled out of the crowded parking lot. Just as I thought, I'd have to let my anticipation build up until tomorrow to find out the gender or the two buddies who'd be joining my little boys on endless playdates.

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