When it rains, it pours. For some reason I had several offers of things to do last night and I had to turn down all but two, keeping my every other month dinner with my mom friends from Clover's old preschool and a well timed Silicon Valley Moms Blog meetup with Maria Shriver. I had to race between the events, arriving at dinner only about 15 minutes late, sitting down perfectly in time to order margaritas. When my friends asked where I'd been, I lamely tried to casually explain, "oh this thing with Maria Shriver." Every head turned as they shouted WHAT? which was probably due to surprise, but could have been that they didn't hear because I mumbled.
The deal, I explained, was that Maria Shriver has a new book out and had a private talk with us as part of the promotion, even if it was a very subtle promotion. The book is small, a really quick read that I finished here and there with dealing with Rocket. I think it is a perfectly sized graduation gift book, but as she pointed out on The Colbert Report, the book is really tailored to older people who are questioning who they are and what they want to do with their life. It's especially perfect for moms who are balancing life and children while trying to figure out where their families end and they begin.
Slightly cynical is one way to describe me and while it would be easy to write off her book by saying that she is in a much different place - at least financially - which allows her to reevaluate and recreate herself, that would be completely missing the point. I liked her a lot. She was witty and personable and what she had to say was absolutely relateable. In the book, she pledges to herself to take 10 minutes each day for "silence and stillness" and someone asked her last night how she manages to fit that in with four children and a busy life. Maria said the other night she had 10 minutes before dinner and everyone in the house was busy, so she laid down in her closet and that sometimes she has to lock herself in the bathroom for a few minutes of quiet. Seriously, what mother cannot relate to that? I've had to lock myself in the bathroom to finish brief phone conversations.
The effort to get to the event to meet her was so worth it. It was helpful to hear from someone whom one would assume has it all together, but yet has the same "who am I?" question to deal with that plagues me and most other moms. As Rocket gets older, I get closer to going back to work, but I cannot figure out what that means exactly and how it will fit into my family life. Last night was a reminder of how far away I've gotten from when I was reporter. I arrived to the event late (and for the first time in my life not stressed about it), without a pen or notebook and with my crappy playground camera. For the first year after quitting my job when Clover was a baby, I continued to take notes religiously. Every phone conversation was documented. Flash forward five years and I show up to meet Maria Shriver without a pen. So, yes, I have many questions to ask myself, but I think I'll steal the idea to take a few minutes each day for solitude. I wish I could steal her beautifully curly hair, but that ain't gonna happen.