dear lacy crawford,
You and I know something. That my title is a joke and a sad one. That there are probably oodles of people who will land here on this page because they are desperately Googling tips on how to land their children at tippy-top colleges. (I apologize if you are here reading for this very reason. Feel free to stop reading now.)
Last night was brilliant. You flew many miles from your California home and arrived here at my New York City home for our Happier Hour. You came early before all the guests. And I was so thankful for this, to have some time to talk to you, to get to know you. And even in that short bit of time, I feel like I got a sense of who you are. You are a writer and a mother and a seeker. You and I talked about the whole book thing, having a story out in the world, how it can feel electrifying or demoralizing depending on the moment. You asked me how my book was coming along and I smiled and rambled some iteration of what I'm saying a lot these days: It's happening. It's messy and taking forever and sometimes feels disastrous, but I'm excited. And, at this, you smiled. You're in it, you said. Yes. Indeed. I'm in it. And you understood, understand, just what that means.
Soon, people arrived. So many wonderful, beautiful, thoughtful women. An excess of adjectives, I know, but don't they all apply? These women who show up month after month have become dear to me. And I've heard from so many of them today. They loved you. And felt inspired - and soothed - by what you said. And this didn't surprise me because I felt the same way. I went to bed last night and my mind was alive with ideas you had seeded. Thoughts on college and kids and who I was and who they will be, my sweet girls. It's all incredible to think about, isn't it?
Your novel Early Decision is great. Great because it sheds light on the harrowing process that is college admissions. Great because it allows us readers to follow five kids and five families as they navigate these choppy seas. Great because you succeed in humanizing characters you could so easily have vilified. I live in this world, this privileged NYC world and so I know. I know that this wonderful place teems with entitlement and power, that people can be difficult. And you portrayed that, but with empathy and kindness. At bottom, it is a story about flawed human beings, about good kids and parents who love them. I loved it.
A pleasant surprise: Nothing about the night terrified me about what's to come. I know the whole college thing will be crazy. I also know that it need not be miserable. You reminded me, and all of us, that we can do things to keep ourselves in check. Things like: letting our kids discover who they are and what their voices truly sound like; showing our children what it looks like and feels like to be doing something we love; allowing our kids to fumble some, to take detours, to become the people they are without reducing them to who we think they should be.
I know that these things are so much easier said than done. I know that years from now when college looms on the horizon, I will feel my share of panic. I know that I will not be perfectly cool and calm and collected when it comes to my girls' educations and futures. But what a beautiful and edifying thought that the best thing I can do, and we can do, and all of us can do, is help our kids evolve into the people they are wired and desire to be. What if that, and not the Ivy Leagues, is what our primary goal should be?
Look. I went to Yale and Columbia and my blog has the word "Ivy League" in it. Perhaps I am not the right person to preach about alternative routes to success and happiness. But. I was there in that room last night, in that bright yellow room, and I felt it, and deeply. Your message, your words, your questions, your humble that we all do the work to find that better way.
Thank you, Lacy. For being here. For being you. For being in it as you so aptly put it, for writing a beautiful book. I so look forward to continuing the conversation.
P.P.S. What an incredible treat to have the following ladies there with us last night. (I am an exhausted shred of a human being today so am undoubtedly leaving someone off this so please email me if you were indeed here & would like to be included!):
- My fabulous literary agent Brettne Bloom of Kneerim Williams & Bloom LLP
- Stacy Morrison, Editor-in-Chief of Blogher, author of Falling Apart in One Piece and former Editor-in-Chief of Redbook.
- Lisa Cape Lilienthal of Green Earth PR
- Tre Miller Rodriguez (author of Splitting the Difference & the White Elephant in the Room,
- Jamie Krug of Our Stroke of Luck
- Rachel Cedar of You Plus 2 Parenting,
- Lisa Endlich Heffernan (author of Be the Change, Optical Illusions & Goldman Sachs; The Culture of Success) and Mary Dell Harrington, co-authors of Grown and Flown
- Noa Green of Noa Green Photography,
- Caitlin Leffel, author of The Best Things to Do In NYC and Flair and Editor at Rizzoli.
- Kristi Rowe of the Partnership at DrugFree.org. & Executive Producer of "Out of Reach"
- Michele Kotler of Community-Word Project
- Lauren Slayton of Foodtrainers & next Happier Hour author! (forthcoming The Little Book of Thin)
- Professor Alexandra Carter of Columbia Law School.
- Katherine Salisbury of Friedman & Salisbury.
- Phoebe Geer of the Environmental Defense Fund.
- Debra Rubin-Roberts of Mommy Makeup.
- So many wonderful friends.
- Last but not least: Mom, Husband and the fabu caterers Sheila & Justin from the ever-delish caterer Corner Cafe & Bakery
- And thanks to Posman Books for coming to sell Lacy's book!