Meet the parents

I had an email a couple of weeks ago. From Sara, the New Yorker’s mum. In it, she said that she and her husband Stacey wanted to take me out for dinner. They also wanted to invite Sheila, one of my best friends from university who lives here too and who in a weird twist of fate is subletting Sara’s apartment while she’s in London.

Aside from being pretty wowed by the kindness of the gesture, I was fascinated to meet Mom and Pops Lieberman. But beyond that, I was thrilled at the prospect of seeing a mum and a dad, even if it was someone else’s mum and dad. I miss mine.

Anyway, we met tonight at an Irish restaurant called Moran’s in Chelsea and it was one of those nights that you kind of try to hold in your head. They are remarkable people. Funny, generous, great company, but the most remarkable thing about them was that in the midst of what is a very corporate, structured exchange, these two people from Long Island decided to reach out to a woman they don’t know and may never see again, in the best display of human behaviour: open-mindedness, empathy and a sense of adventure.

We talked about the NHS, government subsidies, fishing, the Post, Broadway, marriage, parenting, Sara (of course), Catholicism, British food, British hotels and pensions. We covered ground.

And they made us laugh with the kind of double act conversation that’s only developed after 40 years of marriage.
Stacey: “We met at a Jewish singles night.”
Claudia: “That my dad told me about.”
Stacey: “I met a lot of people there!” ”
Claudia: “He did!”
Stacey: “And then we met.”
Claudia: “And were married in the year.”

When Sheila and I tried to pay the bill, Pops and Mom Lieberman were having none of it, even when in return we suggested taking them out again before I leave in 7 weeks. “Pay it forward”, Stacey said. As I walked the 29 streets and two avenues home, I thought about my own parents and wished they were closer to London so they could cook Sara a Cornish feast.

Sara, Mom and Pops Lieberman miss you. And I see, very clearly, why you miss them.


6 thoughts on “Meet the parents

  1. First of all, I’m jealous. I miss my parents! BUT, as I know (or suspect) they miss their girls, I love that you and Sheila met them tonight! Second, hows this for a weird twist of fate!? Marianne, Sheila’s sister, just left my apartment where we hung out for the 2nd time here in LA! Tonight was super casual but both times we’ve seen one another we’ve had good wine, great conversation and awesome company! xo

  2. This made my morning! I couldn’t WAIT to get up today to find out how it was. I’m so glad you had a lovely eve Ellie! I may be bias, but dinner’s out with my parents are usually good fun. (Did Pops change tables twice?! Was it a two-Dewers giggling night for Mom?!) I love how much you talked about and that you actually thought you’d pay. I could totally hear my dad saying “Pay it forward” as you left. (I also loved that you walked 29 blocks back to midtown — well done!) And now you’ve got my mouth watering for a Cornish feast. That sounds DIVINE. xxx

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