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Let's Talk About Plan B

If you think I’m talking about Plan B, as in emergency contraceptive—I’m not. I’m talking more about a morbid Plan B.

I dropped JD off at school yesterday as usual and gave him a giant hug and kiss goodbye. I told his teacher my mom was picking him up and I left an official note in the admin office. I got in my car, stopped for coffee and drove to the magazine office in NJ where I freelance. I worked at my desk until 11:30 AM and then I jumped back in my car and drove over the GWB to style a photo shoot in midtown Manhattan.

It was a gloomy, damp day. As I drove over the bridge there was a haze of fog looming in the sky and some of the skyline appeared to have disappeared. I parked in a garage and walked two blocks to the location. Yellow cabs sped past me. People walked in a way like they had somewhere really important to be. They had serious, tired faces on. Horns beeped, hands exchanged money for a can of soda at a street cart. A man screamed into his cell phone, “Just get it done!” as I stood next to him at the crosswalk.

I was in a fabulous mood. Dressed in black head to toe with bright coral lipstick on. I could have skipped across the street. I love NYC. I love the people, the mesh of cultures, the loudness, the chaos and mostly the energy. There is always something happening in NYC, or it feels that way. Sometimes in the burbs the squeak of the chain swing at the park or the deep belly laughs of children remind me how different my life is now. Five years ago, I was living in NYC. I was contributing to the noise—seriously contributing to the noise—not a care in the world but building my mag career, dating and buying clothes. Now I park my SUV complete with booster seat and JD’s bike in the hatchback in an overpriced garage. I have a love-hate relationship with NYC and I even fear it at times, not because of memories made with JD’s father (I own those), but because of 9/11. Because of that unpredictable horrific event that in fact, birthed a whole new breed of single parents. Single parents, like me.

I realize anything can happen anytime, anywhere, but as a parent, a single parent, I am prepared. I have a life insurance policy and will. His father is also required by NJ law to pay child support and maintain a substantial life insurance policy. JD has a savings CD and 529 college plan. I have a family member designated to assume his care. But, for whatever reason when I arrived at the shoot location yesterday, I looked up at the giant, towering building and felt like an ant—and my Plan B didn’t matter at all. I rode to the 20th floor. Then climbed two flights of stairs to the Penthouse studio space where the shoot was taking place. The photographer and makeup artist were there and Pandora was playing on the computer. I unpacked the garment bags and steamed the clothes. The model arrived. While she got her hair and makeup done—a lengthy process, I stepped out onto the rooftop. It was warmer now and the sun was breaking through the thick fog. I leaned on the brick wall and rose up on my toes looking over the edge.


God I love NYC. God, I love my child. I pulled my iPhone from my back pocket and texted my mom (who was getting JD from school and watching him until I got home) and my Dad. “Hey, I’m at XYZ location in NYC. Just wanted to let you know where I was in NYC. Love you, love Jack!”

When 9/11 took place I was in Philly in college. Uncle Carlo was in midtown NYC in college. Brian was in North NJ in college, but had no classes and was heading to work. My family couldn’t reach Carlo or me because of the cell phone disaster. They assumed I was safe in Philly because nothing happened there, but Carlo was in NYC and no one could find him. It was scary. 

Yesterday, I left my Mom a laundry list note of things she already knew (but I mom-micro-manage, ha): Shoes off, wash hands, limit TV, XYZ is for dinner, bath, one cartoon, books and bed. I even wrote, “If it’s nice take the ball and bubbles outside after dinner.” But, I never disclosed my location and that was dumb. I know I have a cell phone, but as I learned on 9/11, in emergent situations they don’t always work. I never want my family to worry about me. I always want my whereabouts disclosed (even though I find it completely annoying and intrusive). I have JD to worry about. I owe it to him. So, I guess tonight, I’ll tell my Mom where my date is taking me. Good Lord. God Help Me. Is this my life?

Do you have a Plan B in place? Do you leave your location when you leave your child with a sitter? Do you have life insurance and a will?