Oh my. There's so much to get down here. On Friday, I had lunch with my mother and she expressed her concerns about this impending project (tomorrow!) She said that she doesn't want me to lock myself into something I don't really want to do. She also said, in an amazingly diplomatic fashion, that she thinks I am zealous sometimes in my perfectionism. I know this. To be frank, I was rattled by her motherly probes. I found myself sitting there, playing with my sweet potato fries, and having doubts. Is this whole thing too extreme, too concocted? And then she implored me to make sure that I am not putting professional/commercial goals above the privacy of my family. I explained to her, and this is true, that this whole thing it is FOR my family, it is for me. Yes, I think it will be interesting to chart my progress and pitfalls, to live change in some digital or diary-like fashion, but that, at bottom, this whole deal is a positive effort to press reset on some habits. What's interesting is that the moment I started talking about this project as something much bigger than I am, she really became interested. I told her that I feel compelled to explore the connection between alcohol and motherhood. Surely, there is one. I've felt it. I've seen it around me. And then. My mother said that when we were young, she and her fellow "mommy friends" indulged in frequent happy hours to quell day-to-day anxieties of rearing small children. None of this is new.
Friday night, my husband and I went downtown to meet four other couples for a birthday dinner. The first stop was a beautiful hotel bar. It was here that I decided to mention to my friends who were there (two had yet to arrive) that I would be giving up wine for a year. I just wanted them to know, but didn't want to make the night about me. And, surely, it wouldn't be. My friends were all curious about my reasons, but they were lovely and supportive. They also had much to say on the topic of drinking and parenting. It's quickly becoming clear that this is rich theoretical soil.
One of my friends arrived a bit late and seemed unnaturally jazzed. On the way back from the bathroom with my one friend, we bumped into my jazzed friend. She was cradling a drink and rushing to the bathroom to drink it. She told all of us when she joined us that she hadn't had anything to drink since the beginning of December. Something was wrong, we all realized, because she had just had a drink and we'd all seen her drink several times over the past month. Anyway, there are no need for the details here (though they are burned in my mind), but the night did not end well. My friend left the restaurant with out saying goodbye, went home, and passed out.
I'm too tired to paint the full picture here, but a few of us showed up at her home yesterday morning. And we talked and talked. There was laughter. There were tears. There was friendship, longing, pain. My friend is now away for a bit, safe, getting the good care she needs. This is not just about wine. This is not just about parenting. This is not just about bad habits. This is about all of these things, and many more.
I slept later this morning than I have since becoming a mom. My good husband knew that the past 36 hours had been draining. I woke up and watched other good friends' video of their little girl over the last year. It is an incredible video, exquisite and artsy, and it made me cry. I'm not sure why, but I sat there watching her smart and silly smiles flit by on my screen, watching her dance and dream her way through her days, watching her innocence and intelligence come to life, and my eyes just filled with tears. I don't understand these tears yet, but they mean something. And maybe something big.
This life I am leading, this life of little kids and big friendships, this life of purity laced cruelly with pain, is complex and wild and wonderful. I imagine I will only see it better, and feel it better, this life, my life, this coming year.
That would be reason enough, right?