“Are you free for dinner?”
The words hung in the air as I sat, stunned, with the phone to my ear, toddlers ’round my feet, and an insatiably nursing baby still attached on my left. I turned my head, shaking it in disbelief, and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror — hair pulled back, no makeup (again), stretched out top (literally), and yoga pants from midway through my last pregnancy. Does this look like the kind of woman who can jump up and go to dinner at a moment’s notice? I sighed and listened to the voice on the phone continue breathlessly with the invitation, oblivious to my certain refusal.
“It’s a business dinner. We’ve got a table for 10 and I just had a cancellation. It’s going to be a great dinner — just our team, the Associate Administrator, and 100 of our closest competitors.”
“Cocktails start at 5:30, dinner at 6:15, and then the afterdinner speakers will start.”
You had me at cocktails.
I surprised myself by saying yes, closing my computer, and calling my husband. He agreed enthusiastically to watch the kids so I could have an evening out of the house. Normally this wouldn’t have even been a question, but this nursing baby (still attached) hasn’t really let his mommy out of his sight yet. Maybe once. Or twice. But certainly not more than that.
With an enthusiasm that I didn’t feel, I showered (yes, you caught me — I hadn’t showered, and it was noon already — but did I mention the nursing baby? Let’s move on.), fixed my hair, and went shopping for a dress to wear. With no time to go to the mall, I decided to take Susan‘s advice and shopped my closet. I dug deep into the back, past the maternity dresses that got bought and never worn (bed rest isn’t exactly a fashion-forward destination), past the sweats and yoga pants that unfortunately did, even past the silk suits that have been dry cleaned and worn for probably the last time, and reached …
A beautiful yellow shift, with tiny flowers and matching half-jacket, in a size that I haven’t seen since before I was pregnant with Widget. I bought it at the end of season sale that year, dreaming of spiffy dates and dreamy spring afternoons with glasses of wine in my hand … and promptly got pregnant with Widget, virtually guaranteeing its banishment to the back of my closet.
Skipping to the good part (and sparing you all the pain and uncertainty of pulling this small dress over my postpartum body) … it fit!
Laughing, I nursed the baby one last time, kissed Widget on his forehead, thanked my husband (profusely), and headed out for dinner. The business dinner.
(continued in next post)