work it girl


Ok, so I told you I have big news, right?

Incidentally, to those of you who have asked if I am pregnant, let me assure you, I got Brooke at the GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE at the baby store. The shop closed upon her arrival, so you can be damned sure that if I ever say that I have news, that ain’t it.

Anyway, I told you that my news involved a big adventure and an incredible opportunity for Katie, right? Well, as much as I have been known to exaggerate from time to time, (Luau, be nice!) I can pretty well assure you that this is big. As in HUGE. But I’ll have to ask you to come back to Nantucket with me AGAIN so I can tell you how it all came about.   

We were having dinner at one of my favorite restaurants on God’s green earth. It sits right on a beautiful stretch of beach and it just plain makes me happy. Brooke was squealing happily and Katie was actually eating without being prompted bite by bite so it was already a good night.   

A woman approached our table and apologized profusely for the interruption. She was beautifully put together. In contrast to the self-conscious, off the rack fabulousness of so many of the islands denizens, she oozed a true sense of style and grace. It was all topped off by a gorgeous wrap that was jauntily tossed around her shoulders. In short, she was exactly what little Miss Tory Tunic on the green wants to be when she grows up (but won’t).

Fabulous wrap introduced herself as the creative director for Ralph Lauren.  She handed me a piece of paper with all of her hand written contact information and then proceeded to ask if we would be willing to consider letting Katie model their children’s line in their upcoming shoot for the Spring ad campaign. She went on to explain that the shoot would take place at a lake camp in the Adirondacks.

I stuttered something about the fact that Katie’s never modeled (unless you count the thousands of hours logged in front of Mama’s camera) and that she certainly doesn’t have representation, nor would we really be comfortable with her needing to have representation.

She assured me that the folks at Ralph Lauren are happy to operate on a ‘friends and family’ basis and that we wouldn’t have to worry about an agent. She then started to share her vision of boats drifting on the lake and the girls in their Easter dresses and her eyes lit up with the excitement of her creation. Despite the fact that her audience was rapt, she suddenly became self conscious and stopped herself mid-sentence.

“Anyway,” she said, “I hope you’ll consider it.”

Luau and I took a deep breath and decided that we would be all right with it IF it were something that Katie wanted to do. And so it was that we explained to Katie who the nice lady in the fabulous wrap was, and why she had come over to talk with us. And then I asked if she wanted to do it.

She gasped and could barely contain her excitement as she yelled, “Yes!!!” She then asked, “Who is Ralph Lauren?” I laughed and explained that he is a clothing designer who  makes .. “Oh, Katie, look at your sweater. That’s Ralph Lauren.”

“Oh, good,” she said. “I like this sweater.”

So we explained a bit about how we thought all of this would go. She would model the clothing; they would take pictures; the pictures may or may not end up being part of their ad campaign. She asked one question.

Any guesses?

“Do I get to keep the clothes?”

She. Is. So. My. Child.

Then she said, “I’m gonna be famous!”

Luau stepped in to take the excitement down just a bit. “Heaven knows how these things turn out, Honey. Let’s try to manage our expectations, OK? ”

She looked right at him and, I kid you not, said, “Well, Daddy, a girl’s gotta dream.”

This child is too much.

The way that fabulous wrap had described it all, it sounded as though the shoot would take place over a weekend in late September. Apparently, when you’re a creative director, you get to be, well, a little creative. When I was contacted by the shoot coordinator on Thursday, she explained that we would have to be reporting in for duty (OK, fitting and hair styling) on the 8th and that we would be ‘on hold’ until the 13th. I asked the only logical question. “The 8th of WHAT?”

Oh dear, September it is. So that’s, um, Monday.

The timing couldn’t be worse.

I was in a panic. This is such an amazing opportunity for Katie – truly a once in a lifetime kind of thing. She was excited. Luau and I were excited too. But it was no longer easy. As a matter of fact it was getting downright messy.

Everything, and I mean everything, is kicking into high gear. Putting life on hold for a week right now is a Herculean task. 

I ran around like a caged hamster for a few minutes trying to figure out what the hell to do. Katie just started school and now we’re to take her out for a week? And you might remember from my last posthat in my first week back after a week away from work, I left early one day and came in late on another due to the first week of school. It was hardly the best timing to ask for another week off.

But thinking through the alternatives, I just didn’t see a better option. The last thing I wanted to do was send Luau out with Katie so that I could stay at work. If we did that, we’d have to ask our sitter to nanny for us (if she could or would) and to take Brooke to and from school every day. Brooke just started kindergarten. Her world is so different. If she can’t have both of us there, she sure as hell needs one of us there. There are so many moving parts in her life and so much to do. Neither Luau nor I was willing to make that choice. Besides, spending the money on a nanny for a week? Not so much right now.

So I asked my boss for a moment off the desk and I told him the whole story. I left off with, “I really don’t know what to do.”

God bless the man. His response was simply, “You go.”

It’s extremely difficult to explain the environment that I work in, but the bottom line is that we function as a team. My desk mates are picking up my slack this week and I am grateful for that.

I have crammed two weeks of meetings and liaisings (yeah, liaisings, whatever), plannings and doings into one. The week of the 15th might finally be the one that does me in. The timing couldn’t be worse.

And yet, Mr. Dickens, the timing couldn’t be better.

Both Katie and I have been searching for time together. Real time together. Unencumbered, undistracted, unhurried time together. What could be better than a loooooong drive (OK, slight yikes on the looooong drive) and nearly a week together on a lake in the middle of the mountains?

So we got a week’s worth of schoolwork from her teacher, gathered together a bunch of books and some second grade flash cards that I found at Barnes and Noble and we are off to the Adirondacks.

I have no idea where this will lead for Katie. I know that it will present its own host of challenges to us as parents, no matter where it goes. That will be a post for another time.

But this is something that is JUST ABOUT KATIE. It’s not about her sister. It doesn’t even include her sister. It’s not about autism. It’s not about raising money or raising awareness. It’s about KATIE.

Yes, the timing couldn’t be better.

19 thoughts on “work it girl

  1. so cool. it will be beautiful up there. and the best thing, just time together is so wonderful.
    but, um….DOES she get to keep the clothes??

    “A girl’s gotta dream”
    I love it.

  2. Super cool! I like this better than my pregnancy fantasy – you get to stay the same size!

    She’s absolutely lovely, inside and out and deserves this very special time with Mom.

    God bless your work team, and hell, even Ralph Lauren.

  3. Very big news, congratulations.

    If you find out that they’re looking for plain looking 33-year old introverts with bad posture, let me know. I can totally fill that role.

  4. I want to be Katie when I grow up. How fabulous! Do I get to keep the clothes? Love it!!!!! I so know what you mean about work! I work for the 800lb gorilla! 🙂 Know who I mean?

  5. Holy Cow!!! Her picture says it all. Of course Ralph Lauren needs that face. It is so Ralph Lauren …

    I know you’ve got to be stressed like crazy. Take a deep breath and attempt to enjoy the moments with Katie. She does need this.

    Very, very cool!

  6. You so totally made the right choice!! Go… supermom! Katie is never gonna forget this. By the way, give her a big hug & kiss for me and tell her that I say congratulations and have fun, and that Jordan misses her. 🙂

  7. And someday when she is famous, I’ll get to say, “and she was my flower girl!” That’s awesome, Jess! Good for you guys- hope you’re having a blast!

  8. Pingback: the pictures that don't make the album « a diary of a mom

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