So Kim invited me to this thing at Sarabeth's for her
sorority, and by thing I mean mother/daughter tea. A lot of people don't
know this but Kim and I can't sit next to each other at a table. Not only do we
look alike, but we have the exact same personality and the same nervous energy
level, which is not suitable for side-by-side table sitting. If there are
any gaps in the conversation, Kim and I both swoop in to rescue the silence at crashing
speeds. At all times, our heads and feet are moving, our hands are flailing and
anything that's within a few inches of us is spilling. We're a dangerous
couple in almost any social setting; a mother/daughter tea is flat out asking
Within two or three minutes after we sat down at the tea
table, I looked over at my daughter and it was almost like she was sitting on a
little trampoline. I wanted to tell her to stop moving but I was spinning
like a top in my own chair and having great difficulty managing my four flower
juice. We both should have ordered a soothing cup of tea, but there was no time so we both just kept drinking
the juice as fast as the waiter could pour it. Between the two of us I'd say we had seven or eight
glasses. The mother and daughter sitting across from us were perfectly
relaxed, lovely people. You'd think that would calm Kim and me down, but
no, we just kept talking frenetically and trying not to bump heads. At
one point it occurred to both of us that we were talking so fast we'd almost
stopped breathing completely. We turned to one another with puffed up cheeks
and let out a huge gust of air.
"This is exhausting," I whispered to Kim.
"I know!" she said, looking at the time on her phone.
"How much longer?" I asked.
"One more hour," she said, "What should we do?"
"Just keep talking!" I said.
She nodded and off we went, chattering a mile a minute.
It wasn't just our own incessant babbling that had us so flustered. It was the
fact that we were both so incredibly hungry. Neither of us had eaten
anything knowing we were going to Sarabeth's. Kim is used to being
hungry. She can go the whole day without eating. I think she once went a
whole year without eating, but we can’t both be hungry at the same time in the
same room. Then the nervous energy turns
into something else. Something
All throughout our steady stream of funny little comments
and stories, we both periodically jerked our heads around in search of some edible tidbit that might be coming our way. I spotted a silver tray of delicate
little finger sandwiches on a table over by the garden window and kicked my
daughter under the table. I imagined the two of us, for one blissful
moment, standing in front of the table, eating fifty or sixty of them, but no
one else was going anywhere near them, so we had to pretend they weren’t there.
As we later found out, the mothers and daughters were supposed to have gathered
by the window to enjoy the sandwiches while mingling, and then sit down for
dessert. But that didn’t happen. Since the organizer of the tea wasn’t there,
everyone just walked in and sat down instead.
There were little cookies at each of our place settings, but we were all
afraid to eat them because we assumed they were for later.
a waiter came over to the table with the tray of sandwiches and we both tried
not to clap. But then we of course realized that we could only take one. I daintily
lifted a little triangle off the tray and stared at it. The longer I looked at
it, the more it shrank and the more I felt my personality disintegrating.
“I can’t be friendly anymore. I’m too ravenous,” I whispered to Kim.
know. I’m this close to calling that woman with the fur collar an asshole,” she
have to eat another one of those sandwiches!” I cried.
“Me too! When he comes around again,
we’re both taking two, no matter what,” she commanded.
And then the waiter came by with the sandwiches for round two. He held the tray out in front of both of us
and we both looked at him and said,
he walked away we both looked at each other.
just happened?” she said.
panicked!! That’s what happened!”
told you to take two!” she said.
know. But I choked,” I whisper yelled,
and then turned to the mother in front of me and smiled.
tried to continue juggling several conversations with the other mothers and
daughters, although it was obvious we were really pushing ourselves by that
point. Kim was hardly jumping up and
down at all anymore and I think I was facing the other way.
And then it happened.
The cupcakes appeared.
Perched, as they were, atop a three tiered cake plate like a glittering
pyramid of fat, blushing ballerinas. I felt my eyelashes batting and pressed two fingers to my forehead. I typically can’t act normal in front
of cupcakes. If there are sprinkles involved, I have
to talk about them the whole time. But these cupcakes, they were
I was desperately
trying not to openly admire them, but it was like trying not to pick up a
puppy. The problem was I did a quick count and there definitely weren't enough
to go around.
I looked over at Kim, who sensed I was hyperventilating.
"Don't cry. They're only cupcakes," she said.
"I know, but did you count them?" I asked.
"Of course I did. That's why I said, 'don't cry.'"
"What should we do?" I begged her.
"Just wait a few minutes," she said and slipped her hand into mine
under the table to try to calm me down.
Finally I saw a girl at the other end of the table take a cupcake and
put it on her little plate. I nudged Kim in the ribs.
"That girl took one!" I said.
"I know. I saw," she answered, patting my hand again.
"What if I take one and cut it in fours and put it the middle of the
table?" I whispered.
"Good thinking," she answered under her breath.
So I nonchalantly slid a cupcake off the tray and quickly put it in the middle
of the table as though it wasn’t the single greatest moment of my life.
And then I took my knife and cut it into four perfect pieces. You had to
see this cupcake to understand why my hand was shaking.
"Dig in, everyone," I said, sliding a quarter of the cupcake onto
Kim's plate and another quarter onto my own plate. My daughter smiled at me and
we both took a bite. I let the sweet, buttery pink fluff fill my entire mouth
and I kept it there for a really long time.
“You should swallow,” Kim said.
make me,” I mumbled.
Just then someone asked the mother sitting across from me where she went to
"Harvard," she answered, as I swept my finger across my lips to get
the left over icing.
"Rea wee?" I said. "That's a good school."
"I mean it, Mom. You have to let it
go," Kim whispered calmly.
"It won’t go down,” I lied, my cheeks smiling.
"But you're talking and eating at the same time."
"Sowwy," I said, and politely wiped the corner of my lips with my
There were fifteen
minutes left by that point, and since I’d gotten what I needed, I was able to
savor every one of them. I let myself sit back and listen to Kim talk. I couldn’t help admiring her. The way she made everyone around her feel so
comfortable, while making sure I was taken care of the whole time. I realized
she turned out to be everything I could have ever dreamed of in a daughter.
Smart, funny, polite, and more real than anyone I’ve ever known. In
the end we met some more of the mothers, talked some more, and then some more,
had our picture taken (which you can see on Facebook), and then, before we knew
it, Dan was waiting for us outside with the car.
"How was it?" he asked, as soon as we drove away. We both turned to
look at each other and said,
"Pretty good, because we had each other,"
… at the exact same time.