When Lauren was little, we were in a store and there were some of those clever, kitchen wreaths made of corks hanging on display – several hundred corks in each wreath. She said quite loudly, “I’ll bet you could get enough corks for a wreath in a week, Mommy.”
Out of the mouths of babes. I remember thinking she was cheeky, and laughing embarrassedly, but now it occurs to me I was drinking heavily twenty years ago, even when the kids were small. I mostly drank when they were in bed, but obviously from Lauren’s comment, she had seen me drinking enough to wax sarcastic in a crowded gift store. I am sitting here wondering how many corks I would have accumulated if I had saved them over all those years (by my calculations a mountain – enough to make 73 wreaths…)
I was tipsy a lot when the children were young. Every Easter egg hunt at the Marsh Landing Country Club, every Halloween, every birthday party… I wrecked every car I ever drove. The kids remember the many times they helped me with my “auto repair kit” – nail polish remover, a hammer and a black Sharpie – to fix some scratch or dent on my car before Jonathan got home. I was always driving on people’s lawns, popping off mailboxes with my rearview mirror and backing into posts and parked cars.
I remember I was hungover most mornings. Gathering the kids for elementary school early in the morning – hair bows and snack packs and backpacks, feeling headachy and out of sorts (“Get in the car now!). I was so hungover at Jon Jon’s kindergarten meet-and-greet at Country Day, I spent most of the time in the teacher’s lounge bathroom throwing up. Something my furious husband noted, hissing, “You smell like a brewery,” although it was more like a wine cask… It’s a miracle Jon Jon got into that school anyway, even if he didn’t have a drunk mother. At his “interview” the teacher held up a huge “C” on a piece of cardboard and asked him what it was. He looked up from the train he was playing with and said disinterestedly, “I don’t know. A letter?”
Worry not. My children got fabulous educations and neither of them is a problem drinker and they both love me. Our relationships are solid. But I wonder what the impact of a mother under the influence during their formative years has had on them: will have on them.
What’s done is done. And I’m sober now, so to use another platitude, “All’s well that ends well.” Claudio sent me a joke the other day, and I think it’s funny (drunk or sober). Like all the great things people send me for inspiration, it made me laugh. And then it made me think…
Today I’m not drinking because I want to be a good influence…