Let Him Eat Cake

cake 1Henry turned one last month, and an even stranger thing happened.

We celebrated in the customary way, presenting him with an enormous piece of birthday cake amidst singing, applause, and candles.

When it was all over, this is what remained.

cake 2So the strangeness was that I couldn’t bring myself to throw out that plate.  All day I kept it on the kitchen counter, lingering each time I walked by, taking in this messy, sugary still life.

Part of my incredulity, of course, was down to the fact that here was my son’s first birthday cake — insert all the obligatory sentiments that a parent has about the passage of time.

But there was more to it than that.

I stared at that plate in wonder because he dove right in to this new thing that was put in front of him.  Quite literally, he embraced that cake, in all its frosted glory, because he knew inherently that it was something special.  My son recognized one of the good moments in life and did not allow it to pass him by.  He completely nailed it, even when he wasn’t quite sure what “it” was.

Without a doubt, I am learning much more from this boy than any knowledge that he may be gleaning from me.  Here again, with this sad piece of destroyed confection smeared across a blue Chinet plate, he reminded me to savor the sweet things.

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In Defense Of Drinking In The Bathroom

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I’ll admit it. I drink wine in the bathroom.

I do it while I give my son a bath.

In my defense:

There is a particular time of day in the summer in the south that simply requires a glass of wine. It is when the heat begins to show mercy and the mosquitoes have not yet mobilized. When the sun paints the world in a soft amber glow and the breeze becomes more than a figment of the imagination. At this time of day, everything that you accomplished leading up to it seems good enough, and the optimism that you feel for tomorrow assures you the rest will get done.  Finally, fleetingly, your mind is quiet.

I am convinced that the birds in our backyard have their own happy hour at this time of day, mimicking ours, flitting from branch to branch, soaring across the big open sky, swirling and diving and singing.

There is a grill on somewhere, and those burgers smell good.

There are children playing somewhere before their mother calls them in.

There is an old couple rocking somewhere, on a porch, hands intertwined.

And there is a baby who is ready for bed. Who can control that? In fact, perhaps it is orchestrated that way, feeding into the magic of the moment.

The pure joy of putting my son to bed gives me a buzzy warmth independent of the robust red beside me on the tile. I turn the handle on the tap — he hears the water and comes crawling. In the tub, he is a babbling, splashing mess, and I am left to sip and watch in wonder.

We towel off – “we” being the operative word, as I am almost as drenched as he is – and brush teeth. We get him diapered and clothed and turn the nursery lights low. We settle into the rocker under a canopy of Twilight Turtle stars, and with his bottle and my glass, we cheers. We are alive and happy, and our hearts (unlike said glass) could not be more full.

This Wine Is For My Maternity Leave

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Miller High Life
“The Champagne of Beers”

Because something so common
Can also prove to be so unfamiliar.

From rainy days in the nursery,
To sunny days in the park.
From weekday lunches with Daddy,
To the many nights (or mornings?) I have spent
In the chair I was wise enough to splurge on –
Singing softly, feeding, whispering, watching over.

From the first clumsy snap of a onesie,
To our first book, “Barnyard Dance”.
From our first waltz around the kitchen,
To that first sweet, deep belly laugh –
The one that left me reeling, filled with wonder.

From the first look that you gave me (ever!) that night (or morning?) in May,
To the last look that you gave me just before you fell asleep tonight,
And for every moment in between…
I will cherish all of it always.
And all of my toasts, for the rest of my altered life,
They will hold – as I do you – these memories.

The Homemaker

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I don’t want to know what lives in our fireplace,
But it weaves its delicate silks in intricate patterns across the logs.
Morning sunlight streams through the window upon the glistening patterns spun.
The web descends from the chimney, dangling vulnerably throughout the long day.
It sways in even the slightest breeze.
Each evening, the spent sun sets, and in the cool shade of the recessed stones,
The inhabitant breathes, relieved.
In the quiet darkness, the fortress grows. Threads added. Tears mended.
The hearth is swept clean.
I don’t want to know what lives in our fireplace,
But I yearn for a dwelling as serene.

Exploring New Worlds

On a rainy Sunday, we continued the exploration of our new city by visiting the Mint Museum. Cubicle Charlie and I both love a good wander through a museum — a pastime that I am hoping the bambino will want to get in on. Traversing the early American art section, I was reminded of how many centuries of people have claimed to know the world. The map that I studied in grade school is vastly different from the one hanging on the museum wall.

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People used to worship this chap.

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And this Aztec beauty used to have turquoise eyes.

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Even today, we live on one planet, but across it there are millions of worlds. History proves that nothing is permanent — whole cultures are watered down or washed away, entire empires rezoned and renamed. I will spend a lifetime attempting to understand my own world, which is forever changing. This sort of realization creates a panic, as it has for the countless other unfortunate souls who dwell on impossible notions. What is there to hold on to?

For me — there is this chair, in this home, in which I sit to write. There is the man who shares the mortgage payment. There is the dog snoring on the couch, the family that first opened my eyes to this world and the friends who make it so fun to live in. There is every cause I believe in, every meaningful word, every moment of peace and every daydream. There is the tiny heart beating alongside my own and any other beautiful thing that has yet to reveal itself, in its own time, as long as I never stop exploring.

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BOM

Let’s Get Restarted

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Tap tap!Is this thing still on?!

It has been quite a while — no doubt some people are receiving an email update from a blog they forgot they subscribed to. I did receive a comment a while back from a “Cubicle Charlie” reminding me that I did, in fact, own a blog, and as such, I should probably post on it. (I have a sneaking suspicion that Cubicle Charlie is actually my husband, who neither works in a cubicle nor is named Charlie). And now… well… New Year resolutions and all… it’s time to do (almost) like the Black Eyed Peas say and get restarted.

Part of the trouble was the scope, which I am attempting to revisit. Blogging at a regular rate proved arduous within the structure I had originally defined. I am motivated to make this space more inclusive, more accepting (or possibly forgiving), encouraging me to post when and what I am inspired to. The fact that I am five months pregnant has brought this issue home for me, as still I feel the urge to express, if not imbibe.

Having said all this, the fundamentals have not changed: this is a blog about life and wine. Wine represents the beautiful — the fine — parts of life. I want this blog to have the effect of a bold red, a crisp white, a sentimental rosé or a brooding port. I pour myself a glass of life!

With that, let’s return to black eyed peas. Having moved from Chicago to Charlotte last spring, I consider myself a beginner student of Southern culture, and so far it has been an eye-opening education. I learned too late, for example, that it is customary to eat black eyed peas at the new year — the shelves had been cleared by the time I went around to the grocery stores last night. So to honor the tradition as best I can, I am serving some up with this first post, hoping they bring luck in all that lies ahead. Here’s to resolutions and ruminations in 2014!

BOM

This Wine Is For Our Favorite Shirt

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Vincent Red
Washington

Producer: Mark Ryan Winery
Importer: n/a
Year: 2010
Price: $20

At some point — 1996, to be exact — he bought it in a small shop in Barcelona, while on vacation with his mother.

Ten years later, it became mine.

Or rather, I suppose, it became ours — like the books on the shelves and the pictures in the frames, the art on the walls and the crystal in the hutch. One of many things that make up our world — like the lamp in the corner and the barbecue grill.

Some time ago, it held only his memories, but now every moment is shared. Like this wine, it is a well-balanced blend with a long finish — a souvenir from a life lived together.