My final Emmy dress fitting with Oliver Tolentino went fantastic. Truly. He saved the day and the week swinging into action at the last minute. Phew.
You will all get to see it in a matter of hours but I need to tell you the highlights of this fitting because I had my sons with me.
My sons are 6 and almost 9. They don’t like doing any chores with Mama. They like playing LEGO and begging me to show them movies since now that’s something we do sometimes. They like getting annoyed with me when I won’t give them more than three jelly beans at a time. They like swimming and playing ball in the house. They do not like watching me try on dresses for award shows they don’t care about and won’t be seeing.
But I am divorced, and I had my kids all the way until Emmy Sunday, so with me they were. They pouted all the way there. Little Man asked, “Is it far? Are we there yet? How long?” a few dozen times. Firstborn kept it together a bit better but did his best looking annoyed face every time I looked at him in the rearview mirror.
So we got to Oliver’s studio and of course everyone loved meeting my kids. “They’re so CUUUTE!” everyone said. And they smiled shyly and all I could think about was the caca-storm it was all morning getting them dressed and into the car, and how annoyed we all were with each other, and how Little Man hates the shorts I gave him to wear but I haven’t gotten to do laundry and that’s all I had and WHAT. EVER. I am doing my best and it was just a week where my best was the WORST as far as my kids were concerned. Grumpy pants. Me. Them. Everyone grumpy, all the time.
I couldn’t see the cute right then. I mean I knew they are aesthetically lovely, both of them dark blond. Firstborn with my eyes exactly, blue and green with gold and brown flecks and long lashes. Little Man has blue blue sky blue eyes and lashes that taper longer at the ends. They have their father’s full, rosy cheeks, like a painting of a cherub. Their hair swoops to the side, they have warm smiles, and they look huggable for sure.
But all I could see was the crying and the grumpiness and the debacle of the morning.
I made myself be in an extra good mood for the fitting to balance out their crummy moods. (I think this is a sign of co-dependent behavior on my part but I will deal with that with my therapist after the Emmys.) We saw my dress on a mannequin and it was STUNNING. It took my breath away. Not so much for Little Man. Deadpan: “It needs to be red.” Everyone laughed, but I kind of glared at him and he glared back. Grrr.
I put on my SPANX, which is at least mildly amusing to my boys, and I tried on the dress. It fit like a glove, with a big full skirt. It’s gorgeous. Princess gorgeous. Or Queen, even!
Firstborn said, “It’s way too poofy. No. No.” Little Man said again, “I prefer red. Or gold. Gold would be AWESOME.” Their arms were folded. They already tore through the Looney Tunes comic book I brought for them and they shared the one square of chocolate I had for them. (The second piece went missing in the car and subsequently melted.) They were DONE.
I finished up as quickly as I could and put my t-shirt and cotton skirt and Converse sneakers back on. We waved goodbye and they even shook hands with everyone, and again everyone said, “They’re so CUUTE!” and I looked at them politely saying goodbye. I realized I could see it stronger now: They are cute. Even when they’re grumpy.
I’ve been too impatient and distracted to see it lately. They are trying to make sense of divorce and two houses to live in and a famous mama who is strict and super busy all the time. It’s a hard balancing act being a working mom, no matter your job. It’s hard balancing things without a nanny or housekeeper. But it’s all OK. And I thank whatever lessons the Universe gave me that helped me give up trying to be perfect years ago. Because I am so far from perfect I don’t even know if I’d recognize perfect if it sprung out of my VitaMix and announced itself to me.
My boys test me. And what that means to me is they need to know where I’m at. Sometimes I ignore it, like I did before the Emmy fitting. They had been sent out of the house (by angry mama) to just WAIT BY THE CAR FOR THE LOVE OF PETE. They banded together and joyfully conspired to throw acorns at me.
I ignored it, quietly happy to see that they could get out some aggression at me since it had been a rough morning. And it was done gently, because they are gentle. And they were laughing. And I just stormed off and opened the car for them and ignored them.
Next time, I will do what they are accustomed to me doing: I will gather all of those acorns up and raise a mama battle cry and chase them down, all of us laughing as I gently pelt them with acorns too.
Because I am that mama. I wasn’t that mama this day. I was Emmy mama late for a fitting, making everyone grumpy with my haste and lack of patience.
Someday I hope they understand how hard it is for me to be so many things for so many people. For today, Emmys are almost over and I am ready to be just their mama again.
Acorns in hand.
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