I went to a pretty awesome holiday cocktail party last night.
In the days leading up to the “Ladies in Velvet Pants” party I was elated. I honestly felt like the homely class nerd who had been asked to the prom by the handsome and popular captain of the football team.
You’re probably thinking it was because I had a particularly amazing pair of velvet pants to rock at this party. Surprisingly, however, I don’t own a single pair of velvet pants. I have gold denim pants and brown leather pants and a velvet cow print skirt but, nope, I do not own a pair of velvet pants.
So why was I so happy about this particular invite? Honestly, it was because nothing specified in the invitation applied to me and the really great woman who was throwing this shindig still invited me.
Here is what the host wrote:
“Ladies in Velvet Pants – (definition) (n)-
A festive event where the ladies of town take a night out of the busy holiday season to celebrate with the women of their carpools, playdates, and coffees, their exercise partners and business/community service partners, long time confidants and new friends.”
Okay I guess I meet one part of this. I’m a woman.
But I am not a woman who has a go-to set of mommy pals with whom I carpool, or share playdates, or drink coffee, or exercise. And, while as a trauma surgeon my day to day business involves pretty important service to the community, I don’t have a core group of mommies in that venue. I do have several confidants peppered around the country from my college, med school, and residency days but since I got my first grown up job at age 36 and moved to this town, I have not had the opportunity to make the kind of friends who become confidants and those confidants from days past just aren’t the same without the proximity.
To be sure, I am surrounded in my neighborhood by a bunch of really great women but I still don’t feel like I know them as well as I would like to because I am just not around that much and their lives are replete with mommy pals already. My children have many, many friends with very lovely moms with whom I could in theory bond but again that would involve me being consistently present in a venue where I could get to know them like PTO events or extracurricular activities. And, while I have been integrating exercise into my life, I am not at my local Pilates studio often enough to even remember all my classmates’ names and I have chosen my husband as my running partner because it lets me sneak some rare alone time with him while also allowing me to keep up the fitness effort.
So, this invitation from the mother of one of my daughter’s dearest friends meant a lot to me. We have socialized a few times related to the girls’ interests even though my husband functions as the carpooler, play dater, etc in our families’ relationship. I have always had a great time with her but its always been with the girls and my husband around. I do not believe I have earned any of the connections of mommyship specified on the invite but still she at least liked me enough to invite me.
As hard as I try to be a reasonably decent mother to my kids and not constantly wallow in mommy guilt, nothing validates being a mom more than being invited to a bonafide mommy party. The acknowledgment that no matter how absent I am–both in the lives of my kids and in the spheres of women who tend to connect over their kids or the things they do together when not doting over those kids–I too deserve a special night among fellow moms was deeply meaningful to me. Plus, the opportunity to get all dolled up and dip into my bedazzled wardrobe is always welcome.
So I went. My husband supervised and carpooled to the play date between our daughters during the party. He even made the dessert that I was asked to bring since I just did not have the time to do it and abate the bags under my eyes in time for the event. And I had a great time.
I got to know some of the women I have seen around town better. I got to some of the women who already know my kids and/or my husband through their own kids a little better. I got to know some of my neighbors’ mommy pals better. I got to know some women with whom I have no connection whatsoever…..yet.