( Just found the energy to look at my old documents and thought this would dovetail with the good enough mothers. Thanks for all who wished me well. That is what will happen one day soon I hope.!)
This starts with a Mink Coat. It is brown, unattractive, very thick.Worn by a stranger, a woman-- the mother of some child I’m hoping Miranda will enjoy. Are we visiting New York City? Are we staying for a few months at “Nana’s” apartment? Is she two? Is she three?
I met this woman at a kidnastics class, or some such moniker, and when we did, the girls looked alike and we, both dressed in gym clothes, did too. I think that was part of the class deal, dressing as if we were doing gymnastics too. This woman and I connected briefly, then exchanged phone numbers. This occurred during one of those fallow times, when me and baby M. were alone. The point of this following anecdote is that it represents one of thousands of situations I was thrust into for the child’s sake--- awkward, nearly unbearable. I mean I can go to unbearable fairly easily, say on a blind date, of which I’ve had exactly one. This memorable hour was in Cambridge, Ma, how three seconds into our meal–a caeser salad was involved, I was past ready to flee, but could not nor could I participate. The second our meal ended, I ran home and leapt joyfully into bed. What this says about me suggests that I have little flexibility with strangers, or as my friend Meggan says: “There are people with whom I wouldn’t walk to the corner grocery store.” But in fact I love chatting with strangers it was the single motherhood that made me tense as on the awful blind date. Wanting to keep Miranda happy.
This particular play date was more memorable in the sacrifice-for-kid department. On the phone, we’d arranged the time. I took an excited Miranda into a marble / mirrored apartment, fancy and cold, which she instantly wanted to flee. "Rich is boring" was a great line she had said around 3. It was somewhere on the Upper East Side–the date, as I now learned --two minutes after we arrived-- was one in which the nanny would watch the two girls, though Miranda was not too happy with this situation, and I, even less so, but my kid was already a kid-addict-- needing the stimulation, even as she resisted this stranger date. I’d planned on picking her up in two hours—that was typical.
But the mother had already set into motion her plans: That we two would have our very own play date, not the rule as play dates go. In fact, we were already booked for late lunch at her favorite restaurant. Unlike when we both were wearing leotards, we had nothing in common which, to contradict an earlier notion, I can say about very few people. The woman was instantly busy with getting on the right clothes and as I sat observing her nanny and seeing that these two kids weren’t even at the level of parallel play, and we were both (me and Miri) having serious second thoughts.
When the mother morphed from her bedroom-- it was winter; daytime-- she was wearing the minkest of mink coats I’d ever seen, (growing up where I grew up, I’d seen plenty o’ mink --if never on someone my age and somehow, never in daylight.
“And what should we do with you?” said this stranger. Quick as a flash, since she had “reservations” and we couldn’t be late, she pulled me into her room and after literally sizing me up, left an outfit of hers for me to put on. Laid out on her decorator bed were stockings, high heels, a fluffy silk skirt, silk stockings, along with a second mink coat– the one that was all white. Soon we were heading out--I wobbling in her high heels, as both mink coats were walking to some upscale restaurant, probably Mortimers’–while I was contemplating how to kill myself. Being a pure hippy, I felt like a transvestite and far worse–as with the blind date. I who can converse with virtually anyone, could not get a conversation going, what with the woman’s mind being nothing akin, what with the wind blowing fiercely and me wobbling-on-high shoes --the sheer oddness of those moments-- remain memorable so many years later.
Most that remains is the weight of that white mink, which also was dragging on the sidewalks as it was far too long. What followed included salad, simulated conversation, and for me, the worst kind of awkward time, time when minutes refuse to move.
When we finally returned and I picked up Miranda it was clear that she was no happier than I, not with the other kid, who was being totally neglected by the Guatemalan nanny who had fallen in love with my yes adorable kiddo, making her sit on her lap while this nanny was kissing her hair over and over, a little spittle running down Miri’s face, all a tad premature or the better word: inappropriate. So none of it was worth it. The other kid, not as cute as Miranda who was amazingly adorable, was furious and throwing blocks. As we two ran off and began to see that there were worse things than being alone.The End