A story I edited won a big award this week, which meant I had to find an outfit that was passably black tie to attend the award gala. My coworkers pull this off without effort. Our editor in chief is a straight up fashionista, tall and lean and able to master any look she pleases, especially her signature polished Boho. The writer of the winning piece, who I work with a lot, she's actually my favorite writer to work with and we have won a lot of awards together, is a petite athletic woman who wore a red satin dress that hugged everything tight, with heels up to here, and a fluffy scalloped clutch that said, "I attend a lot of black tie events and I am always prepared." I would always be prepared too if I had her figure. I'd just go into any store I wanted and buy the cutest dress on the rack, and the flyest heels, and I'd be set. The other editor in our group is a big girl like me. But she manages better than I do. She wore a sophisticated black dress with a cropped jacket, and accessorized with fire-engine red lipstick, a red clutch, and towering red heels that I would never have been able to walk in.
Me? Well, that morning I found in my closet a black jacket with sequins and silver and gold stitching on it, and crystal dots. I had ordered from a catalog some months ago, but when it arrived, I was mildly horrified at how shiny it was, and I shoved it in the closet and left it there, forgotten. Finding it again and desperate for a black tie option, I decided it at least had the virtue of never having been seen by my coworkers. And the color black always works in publishing circles, so I put it on over black pants and black silk blouse, added some big jewelry and black suede boots and off I went to get our big award.
I wish I liked the public schmoozing more. I used to think it was my size that made me reticent, but one of the other editors is my size, and she pulls off the whole schmooze fest with sophisticated ease. Truth is, once I'm there I do perfectly well. I just take a deep breath and dive into the whole scene, chatting with folk, smiling and conversing and mixing and mingling for as long as it takes before I can escape back to the sanctuary of my home. I appear to be appropriately socialized, able to hold my own. But I don't love it, and I am always so happy when I've discharged my obligation and can say my goodbyes.
On the other hand, I love getting together with good friends, as my husband and I did last night at an Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, to celebrate our friend Isabella's birthday. There was wine and there were stories and laughs, and socially that sort of thing is just my speed.
Now, it's Saturday again, and my love is watching Premier League Soccer on TV and settling in for his day of rest. As I made coffee a few moments ago, he said, "You know how I love Thanksgiving and always look forward to it, but somehow, this year, I am looking forward to the kids being home more than ever. I'm counting the days till our boy comes home tomorrow and our girl on Tuesday. I can hardly wait to see them."
"Well, they've never both been gone before," I said. "You miss them."
"I suppose that's it," he said. "And I'm also marveling that my son just turned 21, and how did that little baby we brought home not so long ago get to be a grown man? When did our daydreaming girl get to be a college freshman?"
We just looked at each other and smiled ruefully and shook our heads. I remembered my friend saying last night that when you're divorced, you always have to share your children and that it sucked, because she wants all her daughter's time when she gets home from college next week. And I felt so fortunate to be with the only person in the whole world who shares the depths of what I feel about these two endlessly fascinating-to-me humans, our boy and our girl.
Ages 5 and 8