I knew I was working on my last wedding when at our preliminary client meeting, the bride-to-be told me over tea and paperwork that her parents had offered her either The Day, or the down payment on a house, and I wanted to scream, “Take the house!” I did my best, type A perfectionist job on her wedding, but after this I realized clients would be better served by one of the hundreds of new, young, peppy wedding planners that flood the industry now, someone who could say without flinching, “Of course—everyone deserves the day!”
This story began in college, a trail of experiences and opportunities that shaped a novel. In 1995 I was a year from graduating when I connected with a Harvard professor who wanted an aide worker to go into a Romanian orphanage and hospital where her own adoption was stalled. I went alone, not knowing the language or the social complexities that had created a country where most orphans were not without parents, just abandoned to a state-run foster care. I only knew I loved babies and travel, adventure. It was overwhelming, (I was given fifty infants my first day) and heartbreaking, nearly impossible for me to leave Bucharest to finish my degree, but I did.
My mother in law died in the early hours of August first, while the East Coast birds sang their dawn chorus. It was her favorite time of day, and as we drank tea and watched the sunrise, my family took a teaspoon of comfort in that, that her spirit might be soaring and dipping with the swallows, calling out with the wrens and the finches.
When my first novel sold, I wasn’t sure what I should do first: cash the check and roll around on the bed in the money, or go buy a car. But when the confetti settled, I told my husband what I really wanted was a goat. We live on a handful of acres about 13 miles from Philadelphia in a town that is farm-animal friendly. In fact, the lot where we built our house has a small barn, is still bordered by split rail that once housed horses.
I don’t consider myself a runner. I have no marathon aspirations—the farthest I have ever run (anything over seven miles) is usually a result of getting lost. I only buy new running shoes when my treads are so worn that they’re dangerous-slippery. If you want to measure up against me, here’s my yardstick: 3-6 days a week, I run 3-6 miles and my Nike plus ipod tells me I average about 8 min 35 seconds, something I realized I’ve done for the last seventeen years.