Back to NYC.
I learned some important lessons from this trip. First, all women should have a little black dress. (I prefer short sleeves.) And you shouldn't wait until 48 hours before the event to dig your lbd out of a bin in the basement because you may discover that after giving birth to four children in 10 months time, that lbd just doesn't fit right.
In addition, all women should have classic black heels, nice nude hose (for when it is chilly out), a little fancy bag and a shawl. I had all of these except for a shawl or a fancy sweater. (That was a tough lesson to learn.)
I guess I thought by waiting to the last minute, an outfit would magically appear. When that didn't happen, I went shopping at lunch the day before. Banana Republic was my second stop and I found a new lbd marked down from $150 to $60. Thankyouverymuch.
Taking self portraits with a dimly lit bathroom area in front of me is obviously not my specialty.
The charity gala for First Candle was held at The Lighthouse at Pier 61, which was not within walking distance of our hotel. Not even close. When we checked in, we had asked about cabs and were told that they normally line up out front but, because of the weather, were (obviously) taken. When asked whether the hotel would assist us in obtaining a cab later that evening, we were told yes.
There was no doorman at the hotel, just the "front desk" staff checking guests in. When Rich and I went to leave for the gala, it was pouring rain and, of course, there were no cabs waiting around. We asked a hotel lobby staff if the hotel would assist with a cab. We were given a line that the front desk/lobby staff were in the process of shift change and very busy so they were recommending that guests be very persistent in attempting to hail a cab. Or take the subway.
So Rich and I hailed a cab within a few minutes but the shared umbrella situation didn't really work out and I was already wet, which was why I had wanted the hotel to take care of the cab. Then the cabbie dropped us off across the street from the pier complex and when I say across the street, I mean that there were three different, very busy streets that we had to cross. By the time we reached the covered parking area that we had to walk through, we were both soaking wet. My hair was wet. My legs were wet. There was water in my shoes. And I was FREEZING. (I was wearing a jacket.)
This being our first charity gala, Rich and I didn't know what to expect. As bereaved parents, we had purchased our tickets at a discount and I imagined the event would consist of a room full of very wealthy individuals. I jokingly told Rich that if anyone asked, we should say, "Oh, we are the LeBlancs of Boston. Rich is a very successful hedge fund manager and I'm a famous photographer. Haven't you heard of us?"
Well, that wasn't necessary. Although we didn't mingle, everyone seemed very friendly. We were able to talk with some women who work for First Candle and they were great. There were two sisters sitting next to us at our table for dinner and one of them had lost her son last February to SIDS. Her story was absolutely heartbreaking.
Rich and I both thought that the event was wonderful. The food was delicious, the auctioneer was entertaining and the people were warm. I was happy in knowing that others care about Abigail's (and Dylan's) death. That research is happening and their deaths aren't being swept under the rug. Or written off as "meant to be" or "sometimes these things just happen."
Thankfully, the rain had ended for our return trip to the hotel. I was so cold, I could not stop shaking and so we paid a coach car more money than we should have so that we wouldn't have to wait for a cab. Our room was on the tenth floor so no fantastic views. It was nice to change into warm, fuzzy pajamas.
The best I could do without a tripod, by the way.
At the end of the day, our hotel room, my wet and ratty hair, and the cold weather didn't really matter. What mattered is that a wonderful organization raised a ton of money for a great cause. For babies.
(I had trouble writing this post. Sorry if it seems all over the place.)