Our first grandchild is about to be born. For my husband this event is triggering feelings of age and his own mortality. For me its more a feeling of panic knowing our daughter and son-in-law have no clue what they are getting into. It has also caused me to pull out baby keepsakes I have saved from when our children were born, including our family baby blessing gown.

My in-laws bought it at a second-hand shop when our first child was born. It is an ornate, silky gown with a long lace jacket covered in hand-sewn ribbon roses. It is a beautiful and obviously old blessing gown which I like to imagine many babies have worn.

The gown was used for our first two children, both girls. Our third child was a boy. Like all good young Mormon families, we were starving college students (not living on state aid) and didn’t have any money to splurge on a boy blessing outfit. I wanted him to wear the gown but my husband was skeptical. The week before Ty was to be blessed in the yet undecided outfit, I was at the grocery checkout when I saw a magazine spread featuring Princess Diana. (When she was alive every major magazine ran a story on her every three months on a rotating basis. She was a big seller.) One of the pictures in this article was of Diana posing with her newborn son wearing a long, lace covered blessing gown. Problem solved. What was good enough for the royals was good enough for us.

No one noticed my son in his gown until the actual blessing was performed. After the meeting a man with eleven children made a beeline for Rob and I. He shook Rob’s hand in congratulations and said, “Are you trying to turn your son into a girl? You got him wearing a dress.” I rolled my eyes and Rob was embarrassed. He was just following my lead on this whole thing, hoping it wouldn’t be big deal. We escaped Church before anyone else could share their opinion with us. The blessing gown event receded quickly into nothing, until now.

It isn’t an issue with this grandchild since we know she’s a girl, but what about when a grandson arrives? I like the idea of all my grandchildren being blessed in the same gown as my children. Because of my chaotic childhood we don’t have many multi-generational family traditions and this could be one. Of course, it is contingent on what the parents want but I would like a shot suggesting its use, regardless of the baby’s sex.

I recognize this whole train of thought is superficial enough to be embarrassing, but the reality is I am this superficial. Sorry. So the question is: Should I encourage the Royal Blessing Gown tradition or not?