Every post between now and the end of the year, I’ll be highlighting a charity at the start of every post. NONE of these charities have asked me to do so; they are charities I have been touched by or believe in/donate to myself. I’ll tell you a little about the charity, why I support it and a link.
As Charles Schulz’s Linus character from the PEANUTS® comic strip was comforted by his blanket, Project Linus strives to do the same and more for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need. The blankets our nearly 400 chapter coordinators collect from thousands of “blanketeers” (volunteers) across the United States and then distributed to these children provide love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort.
Project Linus touched our lives when Elanor was in the intensive care unit at Mass General Hospital. She was given a blanket and a hat that a volunteer had knitted. When your child is in crisis, everyone wants to help. You feel so overwhelmed by the force of events that it often feels impossible to name something that could help. Receiving an unexpected homemade gift from a stranger was a special moment for us, and it touched us deeply. And yes, in some intangible way, it helped.
We’ve made an annual donation at Christmas in Elanor’s name every year since 2008.
Before Rhi was hospitalized, I promised you a tale of complete social awkwardness…aka the night I realized I’d never make it in high society…the Wicked Black Tie Green Carpet and Gala.
Firstly, Kirsten and I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to massage a “black tie” look from our closets, with both of us eventually giving in and buying something (or things). There was much discussion on twitter about how likely we were to fall on our faces…literally…as neither of us spends much time in heels.
Secondly, when I went to go get my tickets and passes to the gala, the ticket booth looked at me as though they were trying to figure out just who would let their assistant run around in such frumpery as a tank top and flip flops.
Thirdly, we are much more the sit back and snark people than the get out and talk to strangers type.
The night was bound to be….interesting.
We met up at my apartment and got all fancied up…
We got to the event, and milled about the hallway outside of the theater with lots of people in tuxes and full on ballgowns. There was a special “green carpet” set up, and we quickly realized that a green carpet would be cool if either of us had even the first notion of who anyone was.
Once we realized some people were going in, as opposed to standing outside, air kissing and generally knowing each other, we elected to head in. Our seats were on the second floor, so we decided to go upstairs while we could still walk in our heels at all and began to observe the crowd. Initially we shared our comments with each other verbally, and then eventually chose instead to communicate via twitter.
Because we’re nerds.
Please understand we weren’t being bitchy…we were deflecting how awkward we both felt with humor. It truly was surreal, though to be surrounded by people in tuxes and formal gowns. My average evening includes Elmo and being puked on by one child or another. In that moment I realized that no matter how much part of me had fantasized at one point or another about leading this kind of life, that I am far more comfortable in my own skin–the skin topped by a messy ponytail.
The show was great..read my review here.
After the show it was time for the after-party. We put on our “Wicked” lanyards and followed the herd of smartly dressed people up two escalators toward a thumping club beat.
The passed hors d’oevres were great…except for the one that looked like it would be a sweet dessert and ended up being fish? foie gras? NOT SWEET. Kirsten and I both accidentally tasted that one. The one pictured was lovely.
We stood off to one side, watching the guests, occasionally wondering what we were “supposed” to be doing.
I have to give Kirsten major props for being less chickenshit that I was. She looked around and noticed a pair of guys who looked equally bewildered at what they were doing amongst the beautiful people. The four of us hung out for a while. Like Kirsten they were in their early 20’s and also worked in documentaries. It occurred to me more than once that I was old enough to have babysat all them as they talked about film shoots. At least I could mention my side job in sex education…otherwise I would have officially been the frumpy chaperone!
Around 11:30 between the loud music, the late hour, and the fact that I was pretty sure my feet were inches away from quitting, I told Kirsten that I was heading home. She decided to come with me.
We headed down the escalators….just as the cast from Wicked headed up them.
We stopped, paused, and discussed if we should go back upstairs or not…and ultimately decided that we needed to head to our respective houses. After all, what were the odds that we would be able to untie our tongues long enough to have any sort of discussion where we came off as even slightly intelligent with a cast member?
So there is our saga of awkward….we did not party with the cast. We did not “party.”
However, this is not to say it wasn’t a very cool experience, and one that I enjoyed. Even though I did feel totally out of place and out of my comfort zone, I was really happy to have gone. I doubt I’ll ever have that kind of opportunity again, and there was something profoundly cool about being there. While I’m not at ease in formal wear and heels, it’s nice to remember that I can put on a pretty dress and step away from the diaper bag. It was a sneak peek into a world that is the polar opposite of my upbringing, and I found it fascinating…for a night.
I was too cool for school….for a night
Eleanor Roosevelt said you should do something that scares you every day. It may sound silly, but going to that kind of event terrifies me (which I didn’t know beforehand), and I’m proud of myself for not turning tail and running after five minutes. It’s also cool to be old enough to look at myself and say “this is who I am” rather than “this is who I’m going to contort myself to be on the outside so that people will like/accept me.”
Thus ends our tale of lack of social skills and night of self actualization.