Monday, July 18, 2011

L'Chaim-To Life

A little more celebration because what is life if we do not celebrate the joy.  The accomplishments.  The love.

I don't really drink alcohol.  On both sides of my husband's family, alcoholism is an enormous problem and definitely hereditary.  As for my side, Jewish families generally do not drink very much.  A little wine, especially on the holidays(What is Passover without the Manischewitz?), but for the most part it isn't really commonplace in a Jewish home to see a lot of drinking.  So, I did not grow up around alcohol and my husband did.  We both learned from our environments and when we moved to California from New York and New Jersey twenty-six years ago, we decided that alcohol was something that we could and would live without.  We made a conscious decision to separate ourselves from drinking.  My husband knew that he had a serious predisposition toward over-indulging because of his family history.  I knew that in order to really support him, I would have to follow his lead and give up something that never really mattered to me anyway.  And together, we raised our children in an alcohol-free environment.  Now you might wonder what, if any effect, this might have had on our own children's decisions to drink or not drink.  My answer is this.  Our two older daughters who are both over the age of twenty-one do enjoy alcohol.  But, they do understand their own family history because we spoke openly and freely about it from the time that they could comprehend.  All of our girls understand the concept of moderation and over-consumption and I pray that nurture trumps half of their nature and that they never, ever, ever become physically or emotionally dependent upon any substance that lurches them out of their own sensibility and control.  I hope that we have provided a strong enough example of what it is like to grow up in a household with very clear-minded parents and that they will do the very same for their own children.  But enough of my aside and back to a bit of celebration...

Angel Daughter Number Three and I went out to spend an afternoon together the other day and ended up in a cozy, little cheese/wine place down near the beach.  The wine menu was gigantic and extensive, as was the selection of lovely cheeses.  Acoustic versions of The Kinks and Jewel songs serenaded us through the speakers and we bounced a bit in our seats.  We decided to share a three cheese sampling which had the most delicious cow-milk cheeses served with a fresh sliced baguette.  And then, something enticed me into ordering a glass of sparkling wine.  I felt a bit naughty as I never order wine, but even more never during the day.  I half expected the server to ask me for my ID;)  I do not even love wine and I sometimes even have an allergic reaction to it but it was a couple of days after my 49th birthday and I felt like toasting in my new year.  To sparkling beginnings.  To Life.  A very, very good life.

Both AD3 and I ordered Mexican Cokes in glass bottles(Mexican Cokes are still made with pure-cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup) which we poured over ice.  I allowed her to have a couple of sips of my Prosecco which only has about an 11% alcohol content, even though she is still just nineteen years old(BAD mom!  Bad, bad mom-slapping hand, hard).  Funny thing is that when I was her age, I had been legally allowed to drink for a year because the legal age was eighteen at the time.  My birth year was the last one that could legally drink at the age of eighteen.  Seems to me that almost everything has changed so that kids end up doing everything at younger and younger ages these days, but they have to be older to drink.  I cannot figure out the logic.  Anyway, I marveled at how lovely and mature my third Angel Daughter has become over the course of the past couple of years.  She and I went through a bit of a rough patch when she was in high school and it scared the bejeebers out of me.  I could not seem to do anything right.  Don't get me wrong, I completely understood and had experienced this phase with my two older daughters who went before AD3 to some extent or the other, but for some reason, this one just hit me by surprise.  It was a rough wave that we had to ride out, but ride it out we did and I must say that our relationship is even better than I had ever hoped it could be. She is funny and responsible and very respectful to her daddy and I.  She makes good choices and works extremely hard.  She is sensitive and loving and affectionate.  Not to mention that she is also very pretty...

Even though I am a week past my birthday, I might just have a little more celebrating left in me.  I deserve it.  I really do.  It has been a tough year.  Actually, it has been a tough bunch of years but I am getting through it.  At the end of this week, we go back to court(AGAIN!) because my nieces mother is now trying her best to sue us for her excessive attorney's fees.  I suppose he led her to believe that she could collect from us when all was said and done so she just ran up the bill but the judge cannot seem to find any law that says that aunts have to pay if they lose a visitation case.  What makes it even more ridiculous is that the judge ruled that I did everything with good intentions and a loving heart.  In his judgement, he complimented me and said that he knew that I did what I did out of love for the children and that I am a very good person and parent.  He did not have to put any of that on the record, but I guess he wanted everyone to know that his personal opinion about me was a good one.  So, even though I know that these are all just lessons in this big classroom called life, it wounds my soul every time we have to go back into that courtroom.  Nine days from today, my beloved brother would have turned forty-five.  I miss him like the dickens and I have faced the reality that it will never get easier, only harder.  There is other stuff going on with my mother.  She seems to think that Mark and I are her retirement policy and her husband asked me for "figures" as to how much we would be able to hand them every month from now until???  And I wonder why I have been feeling somewhat depressed lately even though I am not a depressive person.  It truly never ends.  So why not sit back and enjoy a glass of sparkling Italian wine with my amazing daughter on a crystal blue summer day?  Why not indulge in the little things that make us feel extraordinary?  Why not go to a cheese and wine bar at three o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon and by golly(;) order a glass of wine?  Why the hell not.  L'Chaim.  To Life.  Because life is so much sweeter when we remember to celebrate in spite of the pain...

8 comments:

Ness said...

Carpe Diem! So glad you had a specil AD day. Sorry about the mother situation. You are in my prayers. Family situations can be destroying if we allow them to. Love you, dear friend.

Miss A said...

L'Chaim... You are truly so awesome and sweet and you seem to do fun things with your daughters.
This is such a beautiful testament to motherhood and tight bonds... until I read about not only your sister in law (wow!). But your mother and her husband.
Please please protect your family (husband and daughters). Wow. The nerves.
Sending you the most positive thoughts.
Miss A

Mickey (Michel) Johnson said...

why the hell not indeed? i am so pleased to see you enjoying the moment you are in...basking in your daughters love, the gorgeous day in front of you and enjoying a wee bit of bubbly tickling your tongue. life is full of suffering, it is a given; however, it is good to live in the moment and relish what we have and you just shared a wonderful example of living in an oasis of time while the storm of life continues on around you. hugs!!! mickey

Mark said...

Great! Now I'll be singing that song all day long. And that's okay but I have to dance along with my singing too.
You know, Fred is French. In France, people have wine with food from the moment of birth if not before in the womb. It's all about non over-indulging. They don't have big keg parties and drink until they pass out. It's a very American thing to do. We should all learn a lesson. Especially me! And now I'm thirsty.
Your Friend, m.

koshercritternyc said...

Awww what a sweet continuation of the celebration!! I'm jealous of the Mexican cokes -- they are like Passover Coke right? (my fave!)

deb colarossi said...

I have to work out , and after my shower I will have a glass of wine in your honour!

I loved this. Love your heart.
Your intentional way of living. Of loving.

Someday we could clink our glasses together . Someday I will hug you so hard !!!

Angella Lister said...

Cheers, dear friend. I will raise a glass of virtual prosecco with you. It's my favorite wine, too, though like you, one glass is plenty. hugs.

Kathleen Botsford said...

Heaven knows I love a good glass of wine! You of all people know how to celebrate the most important things in life.....just ignore the rest....maybe they will go away all by themselves! Sometimes I think I may be the Queen of deNial and I am very OK with that!

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