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Susie Lantz (and Tucker)

By Susie Lantz

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic this past year, I attended a drive-through baby shower—the best shower of any kind that I’ve experienced thus far. Here’s why:

  • I dressed like I would for a Zoom call— fixing up a top just enough to fake looking put-together. On my lower half, I sported joggers and flip-flops.
  • Tucker, my 65-pound Aussiedoodle and best buddy, was along for the ride. It was a beautiful day, so the windows and sunroof were ajar. Our hair blew freely, and we approached the shower in tousled style— our happy place.
  • Immediately upon arrival, the baby’s mother-to-be approached my vehicle for a lovely conversation. There was a car behind me in line, whose driver politely turned off her engine so that my time and space were not encroached upon.
  • I presented the baby gift through the open window and had an opportunity to explain why I had selected this particular item for their family.  
  • After about 10 meaningful minutes, Tucker and I drove off and went immediately to the park for a jaunt. Alas, another happy place.
  • The entire baby shower experience (including my effortless prep time) took about an hour of my Saturday. I arrived home feeling happy and fulfilled.

Somewhere along the way, in our hectic pre-pandemic lives, many of us became zombie partygoers; we went through the motions of get-togethers without feeling truly present or fulfilled by our chosen events.

Despite this past year’s letdowns, many of us welcomed a break from certain obligatory reunions, especially those repeat gatherings that evolved into mere time-fillers on our calendars.

Had these events become somewhat stale and ritualistic in format? Were they signified by idle conversation that could leave us feeling awkward and inauthentic? Did our minds silently wander to what we might otherwise be doing—and how we might escape the crowd without notice?

Our world changed this past year, and with it an opportunity has been presented to reinvent how we gather—to rediscover why we make time to get together at all.

What is the purpose? What are we achieving from this gift of togetherness, and how can we make these moments unique and memorable? As our place in community has become more important than ever, how can we dive deeper, engage with real meaning, and experience the real benefits that only community can provide?

Here’s an idea: With our new appreciation for community, let’s decide to be fully present as we engage, taking the time to ask with sincerity about others and truly care about their responses.

Why did they choose San Clemente? What about their work, their families? Let’s consider what we can learn from our neighbors, choose to see the good and acknowledge how they make our community a better place.

As an organization with a mission to improve the quality of life in San Clemente, our Chamber of Commerce is committed to strengthening and refreshing our own planned gatherings; the Chamber’s safe, in-person meetings, luncheons and special events might not look and feel exactly as they have in years past.

Rather, they will be designed with a purpose and intention to create new and even better times of togetherness that build stronger community connections that truly matter.

It is our obligation to do so, and we are excited to demonstrate what we have in store for you.

We invite you—our businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals—to enhance your community connections through membership with the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce. Join us at

Susie Lantz is the membership director for the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce, working alongside Arlen Flores, Director of Operations, and Joey Brett in Customer Relations. Susie joined the Chamber in 2019, after having spent several years working in advertising and marketing with the San Clemente Times, where she remains a loyal supporter of local media and the Picket Fence Media family.

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About The Author Staff

comments (1)

  • Susie, I love your thoughtfulness and insights in this article. We went through so many “motions” back in the day without truly engaging. Your story of of the baby shower was very cool. My wife and I are grappling with how much “hussle and bussle” do we want to allow to creep back in as our lives start to return to pre-2020 levels. We don’t miss the crazy pace that life once was. I love your comment about deciding to be “fully present” to others and I also really appreciate your comment about “choosing to see the good”. This world will be a much better place if we all follow those directives. And your dog is adorable. #KindnessRocks

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