What does it mean to be a good mom? That’s easy to define when they’re little. You feed them, you protect them, you play with them. You keep them clean.
It’s more complicated when they’re older.
Over the summer, my daughter bought tickets to see a concert being held tonight. Yes, it’s a Wednesday – but after three years of high school, when she assures me that she can handle it, I am willing to let her try.
The concert is in LA’s Miracle Mile district. Neither my daughter nor her friends are legally able to drive the others yet – and even if that wasn’t the case, I’m not sure I would be comfortable with it.
So tonight, for me, being a good mom means sitting alone in a nice restaurant near LACMA, enjoying a nice meal and a glass of wine.
It means trying not to stare at the large multi-generational family at the next table, even though one of the toddlers is emitting some truly spine-tingling shrieks. And I mean that literally: I felt a tremor run up my back.
It means figuring out how to kill more time after the waiter has rushed me out without offering dessert. I don’t actually need either the calories or the expense — but it would have been nice to linger a little longer. The concert started at 8:00. I have 90 minutes to go.
It means wandering around the Farmers Market and the Grove, looking for something to do that won’t cost an arm and a leg. I stopped in at Sur La Table for Nespresso capsules. I would have bought those anyway. I peeked inside Crate & Barrel and walked right back out. Too dangerous. Same thing with Nordstrom.
It means glancing in the Apple Store window, only to learn that the new iPhones won’t be on display until Friday. Nothing to see here.
I toyed with the idea of catching a movie. But what if the concert gets out early? Or if my daughter just needs me? Better to skip it.
Should I get dessert at Fat Cow? Or would that just end up being my own personal self-fulfilling prophecy? I passed on it.
Being a good mom means driving around Beverly Hills and West Hollywood in search of a place near the El Rey Theater where I can sit and browse the web for a couple of hours.
I vaguely remember being out at night all the time in my 20s and 30s — before I became a mom. How did I do that then? Where did I go? And why do I get the feeling that even if those places were still around, I wouldn’t fit in?
I wonder what happened to the 24-hour coffee shop? Or permit-free street parking? There’s a NORM’s with a lot on La Cienega, north of the Beverly Center — but that’s too far.
Perhaps a hotel lobby… The SLS and Sofitel are both nearby. But there’s the parking thing again. Plus, I am in my usual jeans and t-shirt and remember the time we got turned away from the lobby of the London Ritz because we were too scruffy to enter. Better not try that.
Being a good mom last night meant inspecting the underground parking at the Ralph’s supermarket a block from the theater to see if it was safe and lit well. And if I wanted to purchase a small bag of Lindt chocolates and call it dessert while I did crossword puzzles in the car, that was OK, too.
Being a good mom meant being there to pick up her daughter and her friends and drive everyone home so they could get to bed by midnight.
Last night, my daughter thanked me and I felt good.