Today I gave something rather unglamorous to one of my most glamorous friends. Lena looks very different from most of the other mothers who drops their kids off at school in the morning. It’s not just because she’s half Lebanese, half Mexican and a good ten years younger than many of us. It’s the way she dresses for the world. Most of us are wearing our workout or yoga gear or some other casual clothes, but Lena always looks fabulous in an elegant print dress and high heels, ready to dazzle at her job at Kaiser Permanente. Occasionally, she joins the “casual” moms and dads for a quick coffee after drop off. Since we need to cross the road from the school to the coffee shop, we encourage her to cross with us so that the traffic will be more likely to stop!
But there is more to Lena than just fabulousness. She is currently working on her third Masters degree (this one in philosophy), and she’s planning to start a PhD program sometime soon. She is also an athlete and has also been training to be a fitness trainer with a local gym. All of this and she’s mother of a 1st-grader, a feisty little lad called Malcolm. The gift today was actually for Malcolm. It was Theo’s old bathrobe, which no longer fits him. Malcolm is a perfect size for his hand-me-downs, and we have given him a few items before. The other morning, as Lena and I were rushing towards school with our boys after the bell had rung, I commiserated with her about how hard it is to get to school on time. Malcolm announced matter-of-factly, “Well, I’m never late when Daddy brings me to school.” Lena and Malcolm’s father are divorced, and I saw Lena grimace when he said this. But the next day, as I was leaving the school, I saw Malcolm and his dad hurrying in well after the bell and smiled to myself as I reached for my phone to text Lena. It may be hard for her to do everything she does and still get her son to school on time, but she embraces all aspects of her life fully. And even if she is a little late some days and has to rush to school, boy, does she do it in style!