I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Ashlee Gadd. She’s a writer, photographer, and new(ish) mom, and we connected through Allume and our shared love of mom dating. I feel sure we’d be fourth base besties if we lived near each other and got the chance to actually meet. Check out her blog, Where My Heart Resides, and welcome her here as she shares about stalking Rachel McAdams.
I was standing at the counter waiting for my nonfat mocha to appear when I saw her walk through the door. She was sporting killer bangs, a huge smile, and one adorable baby boy holding on tightly to her hand.
She seemed to know everyone there, possibly a former barista in her pre-baby days. Her little boy flashed me a smile and I couldn’t help but mention that I had a baby of my own at home. We exchanged polite mommy chit-chat, the good kind with familiar nods and no judgments. She was cool. And she looked exactly like Rachel McAdams, which made her even cooler. I love Rachel McAdams.
“Nonfat mocha for Ashlee!”
I grabbed my drink, said goodbye, and left to run as many errands as I could possibly fit into my two-hour babysitting window. It was one of the first times I had left Everett at home, and was still getting used to being without him.
I later mentioned the Rachel McAdams lookalike to my husband Brett, who joked that I should have asked her out on a play date.
“Am I really that desperate?” I joked back.
What followed the next three months is basically a testament to that desperation, with a side of extreme awkwardness. I started seeing Rachel McAdams everywhere. At Starbucks. At Target. At the local grocery store. Even worse: I confided in my friend and neighbor, Kristen, who started acting as my spy. Every week or so, I would get a text from her.
“Rachel McAdams is at Target. She’s in the bread aisle.”
“Spotted: Rachel McAdams is at Starbucks again. She ordered a chai latte.”
Or my personal favorite:
“I saw Rachel McAdams driving on Jefferson Blvd. I know what car she drives.”
It wasn’t just Kristen; Brett was also super spying. Every Tuesday he picked up tacos for dinner and saw her more than once doing the same thing. It was a running joke, but I couldn’t help but feel as if all signs pointed to future friendship: our baby boys, our shared love of Starbucks and Taco Tuesday. Only now I had become so creepily aware of her existence, asking her out on a play date seemed impossible.
That next summer we sold our house and prepared to move about 20 miles further into the city. We must have made three dozen short trips during moving week, piling everything but the furniture into my crossover SUV. On one of the last trips I made between the old house and the new, I drove out of my neighborhood just as the sun was going down. I made two familiar left turns, the same left turns I had made thousands of times in the six years I had lived in that house. As I came around the second corner, I spotted a family retrieving mail from the communal mailbox at the end of the street.
Even from 20 yards away, I could tell it was her. Rachel McAdams was practically my neighbor, and had been living just a few houses away from me that entire time.
It was funny and ironic in a pathetic sort of way. A modern day Cinderella story without the happy ending—just the regret of a missed opportunity.
Now we live in a different city, and I have a whole new Starbucks and Target that I frequent. I haven’t seen any celebrity lookalikes (yet), but I have made a promise to myself: the next time I spot an adorable mom at a coffee shop, I’m just going to go for it. With butterflies in my tummy and pick-up lines ready to go, I’m going to ask that mom out on a date.
I’ll be dammed if I let Cinderella get away twice.