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A Letter to My Daughter on the Eve of Her 1st Met Gala

A Letter to My Daughter on the Eve of Her 1st Met Gala

Dear Olive—

 

The date is May 8th, 2017. I am on the late side of 36 and you my darling girl, are 4 ½. At this point in my career, it feels unlikely that I will have the opportunity to attend the {highly coveted} Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s Annual Gala, more casually referred to as the Met Ball. Of course a mama can dream, but I want to be clear that the advice contained in this letter is not from personal experience, but from common sense—and quite frankly, from my experience teaching a 4-year old how to navigate the world {and public restrooms for that matter}.

 

When you finally read this, it’s possible that The Met Ball, held on the 1st Monday in May (as you know) to raise funds and celebrate the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s latest fashion exhibit, will not be what it is today. But seeing as it has become THE red carpet equivalent of the Academy Awards for fashion, the odds are it has only grown in importance. Unless of course the celebrity bathroom behavior at the 2017 event (which inspired this letter and angered many museum donors) actually did alter the landscape of this over-the-top soiree. My gut tells me that the show has gone on—even beyond Anna, as it did after its original creator, Diana Vreeland.

 

Let me kick things off by telling you how very proud I am of you. Your 1st Met Ball—what an amazing journey you must be on, Olive! Whether your main focus is the art, the institute or the fashion, I am thrilled that you have discovered your passion. By attending this grand affair, it’s clear to me that you are already making waves in the world. Go get ‘em Beezer!

 

As you prepare for this magical evening, I would like to remind you of a few critical life lessons. Though I taught you most of these when you were 4, as social media proved last week, sometimes “ladies” need a reminder. I’m airing on the precautious side.

 

Lesson I:

 

Don’t wallow {or even sit} on public restroom floors.

 

A recent scientific study published on NPR reported the finding of over 77,000 types of bacteria and viruses (45% of which were fecal based) in public restrooms cleaned with bleach just hours before the samples were taken. Disgusting right?

 

Do you really want fecal microbes all over your couture gown? I’m thinking no. I’m also thinking that the designer loaning you said stunning {and most likely priceless} dress for the evening would also like for you to avoid sitting in sh*t. I know. I know. I wrote a daddy word. I imagine (hope is more like it) that you are still keeping us in check on the swear words.

 

Lesson II:

 

Don’t linger in the bathroom. Do your business. Reapply your lipstick. Rejoin the party.

 

It’s so important to stay engaged with other guests and be present in the moment. Beyond important—it’s way more fun! You’re old enough now to know about the “cool crowd”—often full of girls who are “too” cool to get involved or be excited about anything. Guess what, they’re not too cool. Perhaps they’re too scared or too insecure or just too involved in themselves to see the big picture. I want you to see the big picture. I want you to be bold. I want you to introduce yourself to anyone and everyone. I want you to dance. I want you to soak in every moment and thank you lucky stars (and God of course) for this experience!

 

Lingering in the stalls is typically a sign that something not so good is going on. Avoid it like the plague. Or in this case—like 77,000 microbes.

 

Lesson III:

 

Never. Ever. EVER. Smoke. Anywhere.

 

But seriously do NOT smoke in an art museum surrounded by countless pieces of priceless, irreplaceable art, while wearing couture.

 

First things first—smoking kills. It increases your chance of heart disease and all sorts of cancers. And in more superficial news (in case that hits home harder at your current age) it ages you, yellows your nails and causes wrinkles! It also STINKS. Literally. Your Drybar blowout (no doubt Alli is still killing it!) will be a complete waste of clean hair. No amount of dry shampoo will cover the cigarette stench for work the next day.

 

Remind yourself that statistically most people who take up smoking did not graduate from college. I know that this is not the case for you (at least it better not be, young lady!) So don’t do it. Also, don’t let anyone convince you that it will help you lose weight. It won’t (don’t ask me how I know). They just don’t want to smoke alone.

 

Secondly—smoking indoors in NYC (and hopefully everywhere by now) is illegal. Even as I write this, it’s already been illegal for many years. Don’t think that you are above the law. You’re not. {See Lesson IV for more on this….}

 

Lesson IV:

 

Do not act entitled. {Or even feel it for that matter}

 

You are entitled to unconditional love from God, me (your mother), your father and your grandparents. Pretty amazing, don’t you think? But that is where the entitlement ends. From there, you must take the reigns and earn the life that you want to live. If you’re already living that life, I’m exhilarated for you. If that life puts you on the pedestal that as you mother I believe you clearly deserve, then use that pedestal for good.

 

Young girls are looking up to you. They want to emulate you so that they can one day be in your shoes (literally). Who do you want them to see? How do you want to inspire them to be the best that they can be?

 

Please remember that when you choose to attend a highly publicized event, you are also choosing the spotlight. By definition, the spotlight illuminates brilliantly—the good and the bad. When humanly possible, reserve the flawed moments for private times. Not because I expect you to be perfect, but because I want to protect you from the backlash of being in the spotlight.

 

Thinking you are above the rules isn’t cool, Olive. It’s disrespectful—and it’s entitled. I have faith that you know this already, but we all need reminders from time to time.

 

Additionally, try to avoid being guilty by association. If you see something that doesn’t feel right to you, politely exit the scene without judgment.

 

Finally, and this is not a lesson, it’s a request (a big one): HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE! It all goes by so fast. Don’t waste time worrying about your hair, your weight, or your make-up—a sincere laugh or smile is the most beautiful thing in the world. So long as you’re having fun, your true beauty will always shine through.

 

I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m rooting for you always.

 

Love,

Mom

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