While walking early this morning, twenty-one-year-old daughter Elizabeth was quiet, near tears. When asked what the matter was, she said ‘I miss my life, mom’.
I get it. She, who has a paid fellowship, would have been researching this summer in London, where ‘takeaway’ is the word for food which is ordered and made in a restaurant and is then taken away to be eaten at home or elsewhere. Instead, she’s researching at home, with her parents and assorted siblings close by, set up at the kitchen table, zooming with her professor once a week for two plus hours at a time.
For me, having adult children pretty much full time in my life again has been an unexpected bonus. And even though I too might like to be in London (I’m sure we would have visited), or even northern California, I’ve made peace that I’m home, really being a true homebody at heart.
To help ease the pain of young lost opportunities, of the not knowing if they will be returning to campus or returning and sent home, of not actively moving about and gathering in groups, of missing their eighty-year-old grandmother who steadfastly refuses to visit (fear here, too), I’ve taken to expressing myself through nightly elaborate meals, dressing the table, and dressing for dinner.
Fashion is a way of expression through the clothes, footwear, and accessories we choose to wear, and in my mind the lifestyle we lead. Fashion gives us hope, helps us dream. If we can’t express ourselves with some sense of beauty in mind, even and also absolutely that we might only be among family, we might just lose hope.
We order dinner in maybe once a week or so. We think of it as ‘takeaway,’ our nod to lost London, isn’t that romantic? We tip the staff as if we were actually in their restaurant and the meal and the experience was a ten plus. We take the food out of the paper containers and set it on plates. We have simple flowers and light the candles. We might put on a dress.
For Elizabeth and all young people everywhere, here is the ‘takeway’: let’s make this pause in our lives, this moment where time stands still, a little bit about fashion, and expressing ourselves, for those we hold close. Every day dress, takeaway, but make it fashion.