This Wine Is For My Indigo Girls

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Back in the day, we rocked a playlist on Napster like you wouldn’t believe.  We binged on Sex and the City and MTV’s Dismissed before binge-watching was even a thing.  We wallpapered our living room with inside jokes.  We had a breakfast place.  When someone was leaving town, every single one of us rode to the airport to see her off, and we all picked her up when she came back home.  We sometimes did this dressed as giant M&Ms.  It didn’t make sense to anyone else — it didn’t always make sense even to us — but then again, it didn’t have to.

The beautiful thing about these friendships is that part of us will always be frozen in time, back in that dorm room, listening to Indigo Girls, clad in overalls.  Part of us will always be walking back from campus, making big plans, pausing at the library to watch the sun set against an indigo sky.  These friendships are rooted in that special age where you open your eyes to the world for the very first time, and as far as the future is concerned, anything seems possible.

Having said that, we cannot deny the passage of time.  In the almost fifteen years since our last library walk, even I have to acknowledge that things somehow, inexplicably, continue to happen.  They happen on a daily basis and miles away.  Still, throughout the years, these are the only people who can adequately advise, who can effectively comfort, who can see clearly.  They celebrate and they cradle. They hold a harsh light up to life, and they remind me of who I am when I have all but forgotten.

And when things happen to them, I feel it deeply, as deeply as if it had happened to me — because in a very fundamental way, it has.

I may not know my roommates’ comings and goings anymore.  I may not know what they had for breakfast or what show they’re currently binge-watching, what they’re doing next Saturday night or even where exactly they work these days.

But if anything happens to them, I will go to wherever they are, I will take whatever it is, and I will put that thing on me.  I will stare into that indigo sky with them and I will fight it fiercely.

This Wine Is For That Random Glass In Our Cupboard

Nine years ago, two fine people from two fine families from two fine countries went to City Hall and got hitched.

Later that morning, they went to brunch with their families.

Later that afternoon, they took a nap.

Later that evening, their friends came by to celebrate.

Late that night, the barman at the Irish-American Heritage Center arrived with this glass.

Filled with whiskey at the time, it has since been filled with water, wine, orange juice and milk. It has been used to make up a quick vinaigrette, or as an ashtray for cigars. It has moved from cupboard to cupboard across the country.

In the cupboard, it has no match.

It isn’t part of any set.

It stands alone — one of a kind — just like the day on which it was given.

This Wine Is For Cramming My Son’s Feet Into Shoes Two Sizes Too Small

Who knew tiny feet grew so fast?

He never complained, just let me shove those feet into hand-me-down shoes, got right up and went about his day. Watching him tackle milestone after milestone, I didn’t stop to think about what he was wearing while doing so. And then it hit me one day, as I jammed his left foot in unceremoniously… These shoes might be too small.

So off we went to a children’s shoe store, to get him sized properly. As it turned out, I had been stuffing size 7 feet into size 5 shoes. After guilt-purchasing two pairs of the best brands in the store, I spent the afternoon pondering my misstep.

I have learned a lot so far as a mother, but this lesson hit me hard. Because my only job, really, is to help him put his best foot forward, and here I was doing exactly the opposite. My only real responsibility is to raise my child to have a curious mind, a good heart, and two feet planted firmly on solid ground.

Already he is growing faster than I can keep up. What else am I failing to notice?

And now for the toast — with each day that I fasten those Stride-Rites, may I recommit to nurturing that boy from head to toe. May I watch him run, and fall, and pick himself back up, heading out into the world full speed ahead.

Love is a deep and a dark and a lonely

In his most recent visit, Grampy (formerly known as my father) brought me a copy of Carl Sandburg’s collection of poems, Honey and Salt. On the inside cover was an inscription written by the author’s daughter: “‘Love is a deep and a dark and a lonely__’ p.11.” Flipping to page eleven, I immediately read the following verse and was moved by the honesty and the acceptance in each line.

Since then, my beautiful friend has lost her beloved sister. It is one of those moments where the limitation of my own writing becomes glaringly real. So thank you to Carl for saying it for me, and for all of us, right there on page eleven.

This Wine Is For Nobody

Goodnight NobodyWhen I get to “Good night nobody,” I always have to pause. What does it mean?!      The thought is far too existential to follow a comb and brush and to precede mush.    But there it is, in black and white: Margaret Wise Brown’s version of Godot.

And anyway, how can somebody say good night to nobody? Is it the same as when I say good night to my little boy, holding him close as we rock in the chair? Is he just something I dreamed up — some drooly, chubby, babbling figment of my imagination? Is it like the sun setting in gold waves across our lawn, the moon rising in a clear sky, the stars saying good night to another day of nothing? Or is it something much more ominous — some moment of foreboding?  A reference to the way the universe will someday say good night to me?

Good night nobody.

Henry smiles at the comb and brush. He is waiting in anticipation for the mush. But I am distracted as we finish the story, as I am still fixated on nobody.

An Irishman Walks Into A Bar

me and bHave you heard the one about the Irishman who walked into a bar?

Ten years later, he has a good house with a great backyard, a dog who is always up for a game of fetch, a son who lights up when Dada enters the room, and a wife who is so glad she went out that Friday night.

This Wine Is For Parents’ Night Out

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6:30pm: Entertain your child with the contents of the tupperware drawer as you switch out those yoga pants for a dress and heels.

6:45pm: Put on eyeliner for the first time in longer than you care to admit.

7pm: Hand your child to the sitter as you walk out the door.  Resist the urge to run.

7:15pm: Enjoy a pair of crisp gin and tonics as you compliment one another on looking so fly.

7:30pm: A waiter seats you for dinner — and it’s not in your living room, and it’s not on your couch, and it’s not leftovers.

8pm: Boldly accept the suggestion of an overpriced bottle of red, because this is the one bottle all year that you haven’t bought at Harris Teeter.

8:45pm: Regale one another with memories of previous nights out.  Reassure one another that you’ve still got it.

9:15pm: After-dinner liqueurs?  Don’t mind if you do!

9:30pm: This midlife suburban crowd just isn’t cutting it.  Remember that cool place you went to that one time, three years ago?

9:40pm:  Applaud yourself for responsibly checking in with the sitter on your way uptown.

10pm: High-five the bouncer as he laughingly waves you in.

10:01pm: Realize you are the only ones there.

10:02pm: Undeterred, check in on social media so the world knows you mean business.

10:03pm: Convince your partner that a shot is the best idea that either of you have ever had.

10:05pm: Reenact the closing scene of Dirty Dancing, on an empty dance floor, to a Drake song you have never heard.  Extra points for the lift.

10:30pm: Hover over your phone, nostalgically scrolling through images of your child since birth.

10:40pm: Back in the cab, negotiate shrewdly as to who pays the sitter.

11pm: Hand over an indiscriminate wad of cash as your partner slouches anonymously down the hall.

6:30am: A bleating child and pounding head serve as painful reminders of how far you have come, and how far you have yet to go.