Taylor and Gabrielle elope at age nineteen. Months later, someone sends them a message by putting baby products on a Target marriage shower registry.
We were at my parents’ house in Maryland this past Saturday afternoon, expecting eighty friends and family to arrive for Gabrielle and my marriage shower. At 1:43, seventeen minutes before everything should start, my friend, Josh, approached me. We were standing in the basement, the middle of an empty game-room-turned-dance-floor, watching my brothers tweak the sound system and make last minute changes to an afternoon playlist. Josh had arrived early from the backcountry of Virginia. We greeted each other and he issued his congratulations before asking me to clarify something.
“I was going through y’all’s Target registry yesterday to see what you needed, and I noticed a lot of baby stuff on there.”
“That doesn’t make sense, Josh. We’re not having a baby. Are you sure you had the right registry?”
“It said ‘Taylor & Gabrielle Campbell.’”
I located my wife and a laptop.
We hurried upstairs to my brother’s desk and sat to investigate. Sure enough, 80+ baby items had been “recently added” to our Target registry—everything from pink, polka-dotted washcloth sets and safety spoons, to an Infantino Swift baby carrier and disposable breast pads. There was a Munchkin bottle brush, Princess pacifiers, floral baby socks, and a baby wipe warmer. Whoever hacked us was even thoughtful enough to add a $150 stroller and the most tasteless lilac butterfly blanket I have ever seen in my life.
Gabrielle and I spent the better part of twenty minutes individually deleting each item from our registry.
“You knocked her up, didn’t you?”
We were only nineteen years old when we married two months ago. I was confronted with the question perhaps twice—someone else asked me, less primitively, “Is she pregnant?” This registry prank stunk of the same question—it felt like an assertion—posed by some passive aggressive friend or family member who managed access to one of our computers and was trying to make a point.
In one breath, I can name all of the friends close enough to Gabrielle and me to pull a prank like this—and for it to be anything shy of wildly inappropriate. But those friends would never actually pull a prank like this; they know the drama Gabrielle and I have already encountered in nine weeks of marriage. To pull such a prank would give undue entertainment to suspicions some people are still nursing—the people still waiting for a baby bump.
Can I get on my soapbox for a moment? Some fifty or forty years ago, getting married as a teenager wasn’t a big deal. People did it all the time: my grandmother, my barber, my professor. Heck—most of the old(er) people I know. While I was in Israel this summer, I met a Holocaust survivor named Deborah who got married when she was sixteen—her marriage lasted six decades before her husband passed away eight years ago. She’s 84 now.
Marriage is a mysterious institution, something thirty-year-olds can butcher while teenagers can manage to get right. Or vice versa. It has nothing to do with age—it has everything to do with maturity and willingness to commit and a person’s capacity to sacrifice.
Gabrielle and I don’t know who hacked our registry. But we didn’t let them ruin our afternoon. The marriage shower was still a success. Our families met for the first time, and our brothers covered John Mayer together, and there was a carrot cake war, and we did the cupid shuffle twice. Our Mr. & Mrs. table was populated with cards and gifts and notes and photo frames (and more than enough photos had been taken to fill those frames by the end of the night).
Neighbors, mentors, speech and debate buddies, band mates, teachers, relatives, and others from church, school and work crowded under one roof to celebrate us on Saturday. One family brought baby items—and we informed them that we didn’t expect to need bibs or Sippy cups anytime soon. But we still accepted their gifts.
On the Megabus ride back to New York, Gabrielle slept beside me, wrapped in a warm, fuzzy baby blanket. There were five bibs and two Sippy cups in our suitcase. But no bun in the oven.
Photo by Aranami/Flickr