Princess: Happy belated 14th birthday to the Princess
The Aspen Princess
Guess what. I’m 14 years old, baby!
What I mean is my column is 14 years old. The first-ever “Princess’s Palate” was published on June 18, 2002.
I was super-excited about the anniversary thing. I was going to try to publish a collection of columns or have T-shirts printed or even launch an Aspen Princess clothing line. I thought, “This is a really big deal. I’ve never done anything for 14 straight years, at least not in terms of holding on to a job. It’s the longest commitment I’ve ever had, my love affair with Aspen.”
So I thought maybe I’d hire a sitter and get dolled up and have a big night out on the town. I’d meet up with some friends, make the rounds of the old party circuit, maybe even try to stay awake past 10 p.m. I could wear a special outfit and get my eyebrows waxed and my eyelashes tinted and get a fresh pedicure. I’d make the rounds, do my about-town, say “hello” to everyone who has shown me the love over the years.
I would start with crab cakes and tequila at Jimmy’s and then head over to L’Hostaria for some bad carbs that are oh so good and to say “hi” to Fabrizio, Rueben and Tiziano, followed by that amazing tequila cilantro cucumber cocktail they have at Justice Snow’s. I might even go for the fried pickles, just because they really are that good.
But then the craziest thing happened — June 18 came and went, and I totally forgot.
I don’t know if it was the day before my son’s 5-month birthday, not that we did anything special other than all the cliched new-parent stuff you might expect, like wondering how the diaper pail can smell that bad or why our son loves to growl all day long like a little animal and what that might say about his emerging personality. Is it a sign of strength? Wit? Does it mean he is stubborn? Bossy? What does it mean that I am proud of all those things? I mean, he growls at people at the grocery store, and it’s, like, funny. So I laugh. And then he laughs. That’s the best, when we laugh at the same things. And then I wonder, is it good that my 6-month-old gets my sense of humor, or is it bad that my sense of humor is on his level?
I might have been distracted June 18, what, shopping on Amazon for OshKosh B’gosh overalls, because when you have a baby boy, that’s about all you get in terms of the cutest-ever clothes. Well, that and Converse and Baby Vans, though truth be told, putting shoes on a baby is not only totally unnecessary but kind of difficult. The babes is a real toe-curler, and I begin to wonder, red faced and sweating, if it’s worse for him or worse for me. Vanity will bite you in the ass every single time.
Or I might have been hunting for child care. Hunting for elk is probably easier than finding someone to watch your kid around here.
My friend Kiki tried to warn me. When I was pregnant, “Get on all the wait lists,” I think is what she said.
I sort of rolled my eyes at her like, “Yeah, right.” As if fate would just sort of organize the future for me on cue. My attitude in life has always been not to worry and to sort of let the chips fall. Putting effort into things only makes it that much more stressful, and besides, having expectations is what sets you up to be disappointed in the end.
I should have known that Kiki is smart and the least uptight person in the universe, and I should have listened to her.
It turns out getting your kid into day care around here is like getting into an Ivy League school. These places are so inundated with people who want to get in that they don’t even call you back. The wait lists are months if not years long.
Plus, it’s, like, super-expensive. We’re talking hundreds of dollars a month. I’ve tried to justify it in my mind, like, “I’ve spent more than that on a pair of shoes,” but not every single month, month after month after month. And I got to keep the shoes — hello.
With this, it’s like you want child care so you can go back to work, but then you end up working to pay for the child care. I guess I was kidding myself when I thought I could continue to work and take care of the baby at the same time, because the less I worked, the less money I made. It’s so funny how that works.
I hate that just because we’re so scared of the word “socialism,” we can’t have government-subsidized child care like they do in France. Like good wine, chocolate, cheese and bread, we should also have free child care. I just don’t get it. So now, just like with my health insurance, I have to fork out almost as much money as I make for a basic necessity.
And I have it easy. Let’s face it: Having gone from Aspen Princess to Desperate Housewife of Basalt, the biggest challenge I face is how in the world I’m going to squeeze in a yoga class between trips to Whole Foods and writing the occasional blog for the insurance salesman and used-car dealership.
Anyhoo, that was probably the kind of crapola that was floating through my head June 18 when I should have been celebrating 14 years with all of you, my darling kitty cats. I hope I’m not letting you down now that I’m one of those annoying new mothers who think they’re the first person ever to experience this.
I love you so. Thanks for sticking with me all these years.
The Princess is feeling very emotional these days. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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