Terry Gruber — the one who got away

This week I wanted to highlight a man who has been in life for exactly twenty years. His name is Terry Gruber and he is not only New York’s most sought after photographer, he is funny and charming and has a very naughty sense of humor that makes me belly laugh at moments when I should be stressing. I’m proud to call him a close friend. (And lucky to have him in my life!)


Terry has documented the most important moments of my life: my wedding, my professional author photos, the childhoods of my three great kids, my Christmas cards, my father’s books, our family reunions… we want someone in the room whom we adore at these critical life junctures and that guy is always Terry.

He’s got longish shaggy hair and actually reminds me of a very important character in my new novel, THE IDEA OF HIM. We all kind of swoon over Terry when he comes in the room. He’s not, (and he might not like hearing this), the most classically broad-shouldered man that stalked the planet, but he’s got that unmistakable, handsome allure. How do you define that? Well he’s funny for starters and that’s just a hugely attractive trait in any man. Any guy who’s made me laugh for real captures my heart as a friend for life. (And, by the way, the men who’ve made me laugh who became boyfriends shoot straight up to the top of my list of my great loves.)

Terry is a true focused professional when he’s shooting, but when he takes his eye away from the back of his camera and winks, I just kinda melt and relax…and of course then he gets the best shots. He reminds me of some boyfriend who got away who I wonder about: his long hair shows his rebellious streak, his expressions make me laugh, and his adorable manner puts me at ease. Why can’t life with a man always feel like this?

My book is filled with romance and attraction and sex and allure and also has some seriously melancholy moments. Why? Because the falling for the “idea of him” isn’t real. It isn’t what you hoped, it’s ephemeral and fleeting and will float away some day and not be concrete and stay put.

Allie, the heroine my book, so wanted her childhood love and soul mate James to work out, she tried very hard in her twenties…but it didn’t pan out into a long-term commitment. James is like Terry Gruber…funny, cute, adorable, knows her, makes her feel comfortable, gets right to the jugular of the moment or of what she’s feeling…and when James comes to haunt Allie later in life when she’s married with two kids…all hell breaks loose for Allie. She wants James back, she wants to leave her marriage and have him be “the answer” for where she’ll end up. He makes her feel safe and loved.

You won’t find out until the final page if Allie breaks free and goes for James, but he sure has that male allure of the “one who got away” (we all have one!) who will break our hearts every time he re-appears.

Back to Terry, that heart-breaking photographer: Terry is a loyal friend and an amazing talent. It doesn’t hurt that we all love having him in the room because he allows us to feel something deep inside at our most momentous moments: getting ready to walk down that aisle, helping our babies to sit up and smile, looking professional is a way that represents some huge body of work we just completed, or hugging our aging parents. He captures those huge human moments with grace and humor…something we all strive for in everything we do.