They say you’re only as happy as your least happy child. And since Melissa is my only child– well, the only one my publicist lets me talk about–you can probably guess that it’s been tough for both of us ever since Melissa’s break-up with Jason. Giving the Devil his due, Jason did help out a lot with Cooper. So now it’s my turn to step up. Starting today I’ve decided that I’ll be Cooper’s driver, tutor, and short-order cook. In other words, I’m my own grandchild’s personal assistant. But that’s not all I’ll be doing to help out my daughter. I’ve decided that what Melissa needs is to start dating again — so I’m going to find her a guy. This will come as a surprise to Melissa at first, and she could potentially die of embarrassment, but better that than she should die alone. Truth is, I’ve got just tons of ideas on how Melissa should be running her life, and if I can just trick her into thinking they were her ideas I’ll be in business. I never realized how much fun it could be to help out other people like this!
I grew up watching Carol Burnett on Saturday nights with my baby sitter. She was amazing: a singer, a comic, and an actress who loved to laugh and meet her audience before every show. She seemed so down-to-earth despite her stature at the time. So when Joan told Melissa that she wanted to track down Carol Burnett to appear at the function for Cooper’s school, I was thrilled. The fact that they were friends meant that it might actually happen, and usually Joan’s friends are willing to sign our releases after we’ve shot them because they know that Joan is loyal to her buddies and will look out for their best interests. But I became increasingly frustrated because Joan was unable to pin down Carol’s whereabouts to have a meeting with her. But one afternoon when Joan was running errands for Melissa, Joan got the call from Sabrina that Carol was having lunch in Westwood. We quickly called the restaurant to find out if they would let our cameras inside. Luckily, they were cool with it.
I had two camera crews shooting that day – one following Joan, and one with Melissa getting ready for a video shoot with a cosmetics firm for her website. I quickly made the choice to pull the camera off of Melissa’s shoot (which was going to go for hours) to quickly race to the restaurant. We arrived at the restaurant and tried to make ourselves as invisible as possible as the two comedy legends went head-to-head. It was such a thrill to see Carol Burnett. She was such a pro around our crew. I suppose that when you’ve spent your entire adult life working as an actor, having a few cameras around when you have a normal conversation is no big deal. Still, it was great of her to work with us. After the shoot we sent a bouquet to her home to thank her for being such a good sport about the whole thing. I got an e-mail from her thanking us, which was so sweet. She lived up to my expectation. And I could see why Joan and Carol had struck up a friendship years ago.
I’m a single mom again, I’m crazy busy with work, and life’s gotten to the point where even bath oil beads can’t take me away anymore. Let’s face it: I could use some help. Now, here’s the ad I wouldn’t have taken out on Craig’s List: “Help Wanted – Seeking elderly, opinionated woman with boundary and privacy issues to help with organizing my life and childcare.” And yet that’s what I got when Mom decided she was going to help me out. Don’t get me wrong: Mom’s heart is in the right place. But in terms of execution, let’s just say Mom’s heart is in the right place. Having Mom’s help with Cooper is great because he adores his Grandma. Having Mom help me with my businesses? Not so great. When it comes to my work, there’s a fine line between helping and meddling, and Mom just stomped all over it like an ant at a picnic. If Mom can’t figure out how to lend me a hand without trying to take over my life, she’s welcome to butt the hell out. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.