My hair was done. My makeup was done. I was wearing a brand new dress with beautiful shoes and fancy jewels borrowed from my sister. Why? To attend the movie premiere of The Lucky Onebased on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. With a woman I never met before.
Her name is Julia Rose and it was work that brought us together. I work for House Party, a social media marketing company that drives consumer recommendations to build brands and drive sales. In this case, the “brand” was Nicholas Sparks and the conversations and recommendations that our social media campaigns generate will result in movie ticket and book sales.
Julia is one of House Party’s most passionate brand advocates. She created a six minute music video to demonstrate her enthusiastic adoration of all things Nicholas Sparks. She wrote a catchy tune that weaves together the romantic twists and turns of all seventeen Sparks novels and her sister, Deborah Crawford, captured it all on film. The House Party team rewarded their efforts by ensuring Julia Rose was one of the 1,000 lucky consumers (from a pool of tens of thousands applicants) selected to host a Nicholas Sparks Potluck House Party.
When the Sparks team at Grand Central Publishing (Nick’s publisher) and Warner Brothers (which produced the movie) heard the word, they did us one better. They gave Julia two tickets to the premiere. House Party responded in kind by providing airfare and hotel. And that is how I ended up on the red carpet (to be accurate, it was a faux green lawn!) next to Julia Rose at a big-time Hollywood movie premiere.
I didn’t know what to expect of Julia, who hails from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is known around town as one half of the busking duo Gladys and Maybelle. The other half is her sister Deb, who joined us on the red carpet/green lawn. “Would they be weird? Would we get along? Were they crazed Nicholas Sparks stalkers?” I wondered as I travelled to LA and pondered my 24 hours with Julia Rose and her sister Deb.
Julia and Deb with author Nicholas Sparks at the premiere
As I returned to New York, I knew the answers were “No. Yes. Absolutely not.” As it turns out, I have more in common than I would have thought with these two lovely Texan blondes. As we got to know each other, I shared stories of the five feisty children and one semi-frazzled husband I left behind; this is one of my constant struggles as a working mom – leaving my family behind. Not between the usual hours of 9 to 5 but when work spills over into family time, as business travel occasionally necessitates, I really struggle with the juggle.
I want to be a good mom. A present mom. A mom who rules the roost but inspires her children to follow their dreams, know their limits and be true to themselves. Well, as it turns out, Julia and Deb, a.k.a. Gladys and Maybelle, share my sentiments. As it turns out, they named their band Gladys and Maybelle for Gladys Presley (perhaps you’ve heard of her son, Elvis?) and Mother Maybelle, the maternal in-law powerhouse behind a certain Johnny Cash. These two women who joined me in a fairy tale evening of Hollywood glam were actually a lot like me. We share dreams for our children; we were dazzled by the stars; and we shared a true Cinderella moment as the light bulbs flashed, the theater lights dimmed, and the story of The Lucky One swept us away.
Now that the proverbial clock has struck midnight, it’s back to reality. My sleekly styled hair has returned to its typically curly locks. The dress is in the closet and the sexy heels have been replaced by my signature flats. The kids are screaming, my inbox is overflowing and my to-do list is growing. But I am content. I am home.
I will forever cherish the memory of the night I walked the green grass carpet with two amazing women who reminded me of the power of a great Mom and inspired me to try harder to be one each and every day. Thank you Gladys and Maybelle. Thank you for reminding me that every day I return home to five smiling (and potentially snot-nosed) kids and one sweet, patient husband, I am “the lucky one.”
Here's a trailer of the Zac Efron movie "The Lucky One":