I didn't mean to criticize, but somehow I did. I just wanted the girls
to dress appropriately for a visit to an upscale bridal shop and tea at
the St. Regis afterward, and shorts and sneakers would have stuck out
like the proverbial sore thumb. I'm not even sure they'd have been
seated at the St. Regis.
So we failed to understand each other. I came off as a shallow
fashionista in their eyes. For my part, I didn't see why they couldn't
have trusted that after a quarter century in New York, I really do know
what to wear where, and that sometimes it matters.
"Why does it matter what we wear?" one said scornfully. "That's so
"Well, if it really doesn't matter, why not give in?"
They decided not to go with me.
I love nobody more than I love those two girls, and it pains me to argue
with them, especially over something so minor. But then, that's usually
the way it goes, in life together. We clash over trivilialities.
Their mother called after I had dropped them off at home, having had an
earful, I'm sure. I asked if she thought they'd stay mad. I sounded
like a teenager myself.
"Nah," she said. "They"ll get over it. They always do. Until the next
A memory: my mother, demanding that I remove my black eyeliner. Me,
lying, telling her I wasn't wearing any -- a patent untruth, since I
looked like a racoon. As I recall, she sighed and gave up that time.
Other times, she won. It went back and forth, our life together, like a
peevish game of badminton.
I didn't know then how much I would miss her.