USA TODAY Bestselling Author
Last night we had a pre-Valentine’s dinner with two other couples. It was the perfect setting: a local Italian restaurant, good food, good friends, and a few bottles of wine. Why did we celebrate the night before? I’ll tell you. I’m. Not. Fun.
Granted, I’m still moving through a thick fog after my mother’s passing. Most call it the new normal, though it resembles nothing close to a normal that I’ve ever known. I am either dangerously close to veering off a cliff or falling into the clutches of our down comforter. Ah. Comforter. Bed. That sounds good.
The restaurant was a lovely quiet, the kind that echoes loudly the eve before a holiday. When we spoke to one another at the table, we actually heard our voices. The food arrived at the table at a steady pace. Nobody yelled at the waiter for not filling the water glasses quickly enough or for forgetting the bottle of olive oil with the bread. I immediately felt sorry for all those with Valentine’s reservations.
Why this break from tradition? Why not experience life as so many preach and impart on those they think will benefit. Why be so un-fun? It’s not exactly a coveted position. Though we pressure ourselves to conform to what society claims to be the ultimate in fun, there is a lulling comfort to my present kind of fun.
Fun was 1991 when I had abandoned my dreams of becoming a lawyer and set out for Los Angeles because I had such a great time visiting there on Spring Break. Spring Break! We were a pack of college grads starting our careers in tinsel town. There’s a reason they termed it such. Our feet sunk into sequins not sand, and shiny flecks of fame and celebrity rolled off our tongues when we spoke. Happy hour was a movie premiere; Sunday barbeques were a mansion on Mulholland. Who cared if we worked in the mailroom?
Fun was 1995 when I worked in the music industry on South Beach. Label executives clamored for a seat at our table on Ocean Drive. Cavorting into the late hours of the night, we shuffled into work no earlier than 10 a.m. only to have a meet and greet with some up and coming hip hop superstar. That was fun. I was twenty-something back then with the stamina for late nights and loud noises. Multi-tasking had taken on a whole new meaning.
Fun was 2000 when the kids were infants and we would put them to sleep and sneak out for dinner at NINE O’CLOCK five nights a week. NINE O’CLOCK? FIVE NIGHTS A WEEK? Even a glass or two of wine didn’t interfere with a middle of the night wake-up call from the nursery. We worked. We played. We raised babies. And we had fun.
We left the restaurant close to 9:30 p.m. We would be home in time to talk with the kids and share our days. We drank responsibly and sparingly. Olives were replaced with ice cubes. My girlfriend mentioned the upcoming Bat Mitzvah we all had this weekend. She encouraged me to have fun...whoop it up…dance. With a steadfast grin, I said, “I’m not fun.” She looked at me, puzzled. I repeated it again, “It’s okay. I’m not fun.”
Our house is full and noisy. I no longer work in the entertainment industry, though some would find two grown adults, two thirteen-year-olds, two elderly cats, and two hyperactive dogs in a king-sized bed together, at once, mildly entertaining. This is what we do after we finish dinner at seven o’clock: We climb into our bed and read books together. Sometimes the boys even tell us their secrets. We’re a crazy fun bunch. We watch Modern Family together and still talk about Friday Night Lights at the dinner table.
I enjoy a glass of wine, though now my interest is savoring the flavor. I still enjoy going out for dinner, but to our local trattoria, the one where they know our kids by name and how I like that wine filled with a cup of ice.
The entertainment world continues to entertain me, only from a different vantage point. And there is still nothing I would trade for the purest, most precious moments: reading a good book, deep, meaningful conversation, sitting beside my husband, a hug from our boys, an early night, an early rise, and connecting to the world with my words.
It may not be whoop it up crazy or LOL kind of fun, but it’s my fun.