Out of all the years that I purchased or subscribed to Real Simple magazine, one issue remains in my archive that I likely will never throw away: September 2002.
As for many Americans, 2001 was a horrific year. In addition to 9/11, my stepmother lost her long battle to leukemia, leaving two young girls in the care of my father. A friend of ours, a doting and caring father to his 7-year-old, died tragically in a car accident. It seemed as though we were still reeling from one stunning loss when another would hit. It was my first painful wake-up call that my childhood and carefree young adult years were behind me. The future, frankly, seemed a little daunting.
The change of the new year from 2001 to 2002 signaled something momentous to me and my circle of friends. I would turn 30 that year. We were sick of the sadness, ready to embrace nothing but joy. And – as it turned out – we were going to be blessed later that summer with a gorgeous little niece.
My husband and I were engaged on Christmas Eve 2001 and married in a lovely, casual ceremony at a friend’s home in Park Hill (Denver) in June of 2002. Shortly after returning home from our honeymoon and celebrating the birth of our niece, that issue of Real Simple arrived in my mailbox.
One article, I will never forget, focused on the life of a widow of one of the firefighters from 9/11 and her
four five sons & one daughter…the daughter with whom she didn’t even know she was pregnant until after the tragedy. It was a simultaneously heart-rending, but uplifting article. Life really does go on.
This same issue also had an article titled, “Classic Style,” that highlighted 32 key pieces to a trend-proof wardrobe. Now a “matron” and in my 30s, I found myself wanting to embrace a style that would serve me for decades, not months. I suppose I was grasping for stability – perhaps in the oddest of ways.
I loved this issue in that showed me how humans can overcome seemingly the most insurmountable of circumstances – a lesson I would need in the coming years as life threw my husband and me several curve balls of our own. Together, we would make the transition from “just-out-of-college” to the other side of adulthood.
And – thank goodness – there was someone to help me know what to wear once I got there.