At 1:30 a.m. I was wrested from my dreams by an insistently barking Pomeranian who just turned 14, which makes him quite an elderly canine.
Alfie, a master communicator, had something to tell me relating to business that was not completed during his failed late night walk with HOBB.
There had been a torrential downpour and Alfie is a bit of a prima donna, so he stubbornly sat in the lobby of the Urban Bungalow, not wishing to sully his perfect blond coat.
In the middle of the night he realized the error of his ways and improvised in the bathroom. A neat freak, he needed me to know.
That is how I found myself wide away shortly after midnight, though I spent a futile hour trying to will myself back to sleep. I should not have even bothered. With a resolute tossing back of the blankets, I bounded out of bed and began my workday around 3 a.m.
Through I did grouse and call Alfie some choice names, though I even felt sorry for myself initially, the minute I sat down in front of my computer, I was reminded of the advantages of working in the middle of the night, when the distractions of the world fall away.
And of something else: the easy flow of ideas when sleep has allowed my mind to loosen its familiar bonds.
So I've been up and working for hours. Seeing me online, Big Babe in Berlin sent me a Skype invitation and we had a lovely chat. A few clients were up as well and emails were exchanged. I took care of wedding details and of last-minute arrangements for Middle Babe's Bridal Shower this weekend. I got a jumpstart on the news from Israel, the latest chapter in an ongoing existential saga, as old as the Bible.
And I've been thinking of this time before the marriage of my middle child, of what such a union means, of the idea of a lifelong love relationship, of her beautiful bond with her Gentleman Caller -- soon to be my son-in-law.
I've been thinking of what it means to have raised a child who now believes in marriage, against statistical evidence that we are in a post-marital era, or at least a marriage-optional era.
I've been thinking of what it means to be a modern mother of the bride, of my role in supporting my daughter as she plans her wedding in an admirable hands-on way, of the hard work that happened -- during the day as well as the middle of the night -- to enable this wedding.
There is pride in being able to provide for one's child.
And I know that Middle Babe feels proud of the hard work she has done, just as I gaze at her efforts with admiration and wonder. My daughter is no one's diva, no Disney Princess for a day. She has approached her wedding with the same determined focus with which she regards her challenging work at a non-profit organization.
She has inspired me throughout this year of planning, which had its difficult moments. With six weeks to go, we have drawn closer, united in purpose.
Wedding guests are correct to be touched by the fresh, hopeful love and dreams of a bride and groom.
Beyond the details of the day -- flowers, food, the choice of music, the venue, the colors of the bridal party -- there is the fact of an important new venture being launched, two people pledging their love and loyalty for life, forming a fortress for one another in an often-inhospitable world.
As the sun rises over Morningside Heights, it strikes me that the most enduring monument one can build in this world is a home which is a sanctuary with gates that open to the great outdoors and a private footpath for the master and mistress of the manor which leads to their inner sanctum, their holy of holies.