November 2, 2010

 Women and wine.  What is it with us and the fruit of the vine?  Everywhere I go women seem to have a relationship, of one kind or another with wine.  Not just a relationship with alcohol, but rather, specifically, with wine.  I would like to understand more about that.  While I can’t speak for others, I can take a good, long look at myself. 

 It has taken me awhile to unravel my own long and complicated love affair with wine.  I think it began before I ever even took my first sip.

 When I was growing up, my parents would always enjoy a cocktail (or two) before dinner.  My dad would shake up a couple of martinis, and then sit in the kitchen as my mom prepared dinner.  I was usually in there with them.  I loved that time of the day, gathered in the kitchen together, surrounded by the comforting smells of dinner cooking.   Over those cocktails, they would catch up on the day, talk about the kids, discuss finances, and… Often… they would argue.  Sometimes it was just a small skirmish, the kind that blows over quickly with little collateral damage.  Other times, it grew into a major battle.  My mom usually lost.  Unable to speak up for herself, she would usually dissolve into tears, my dad would feel bad, and they would smooth everything over as best they could. Not actually deal with it mind you…just get past it. More often than not, I helped out with the smoothing.

 Somewhere along the way, my parents switched from cocktails before dinner to a glass of wine.  For whatever reason, the arguing all but stopped.  And my love affair with wine began. 

 Wine became a part of my evening… every evening for as long as I can remember.  I would pour a glass as I began cooking dinner.  The kitchen for me, as for my family growing up was the hub.  My daughters and I would gather in the kitchen as dinner came together, the girls doing homework or cooking alongside me.  It was a way of coping with a bad marriage, relaxing after a stressful day at work, and even in the midst of a miraculous second marriage, it seemed to help me….what?  I guess I thought it helped me to cope, cover up, avoid, pretend, and relax. I could feel the effect of the wine before the first swallow.  Opening the bottle, getting out the glass, the act of pouring the wine; the ritual itself cast the spell.  Un-cork the bottle, and let the magic begin. 

 But we all know that magic is based on illusion and not reality.

Over the years I have slowed down, consumed less, and even stopped.  Over those same years and attempts, my habit always came back to more or less the same level. That level?  One glass almost always turned into two.  Two often became three, and, on more than one occasion, the whole bottle was mine.  Looking back now, I can see what I have lost to that “habit”.  I am fond of saying that I love the “ritual”, the “celebration”.  Funny how easy it is to call something by a name that is easier to swallow, that goes down with a “rich, deep flavor with notes of chocolate” rather than a “sharp, acidic taste with lingering headache”.  I know that I lost quite a bit.  Memories that slipped into groggy slumber and were difficult to recall.  Times when I might have stayed awake for the whole movie with my daughters or one more chapter of a bedtime book.  Wine has sapped my creative energy when I might have gotten another chapter of the next book nailed down.  Rather than make love to my sweet husband, I slept the sleep of the slightly intoxicated.  And, I have lost the opportunity to model a different way to my girls when they were growing up. 

 But all is not lost.  I have also gained some great gifts.  I have come to understand that there is nothing to hide from, cope with, avoid or cover up.  I no longer care to pretend to … anything.  I want the real meal deal or nothing at all.  If I am sad, or lonely or afraid, those emotions are there for a reason and they are some of my best teachers.  They are only a problem if I tell myself that story.  I have gained compassion for others who seek to numb the very stark and often heartbreaking realities of life.  I have also been able to share my experience and thoughts with my young adult daughters. They now see me interact very differently with a wine bottle now.

 In the not too distant past, I was walking one evening out on our property.  For some reason, I just suddenly decided that I was done mindlessly drinking wine.  Like so many other things in my life, I wanted to be fully present…fully in the moment. I realized that, with the grace of God, I have some good time left on this planet.  I want to make the most of the days and years still ahead.

That doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy an oaky, buttery chardonney…or a smokey red…I will pay attention to the message in the bottle and pour or not pour accordingly. 

Now that is something that I can toast to!

written by Molly Davis

13 Responses to “MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE”

  1. melody george Says:

    Amazing blog…from an amazing woman….

  2. Joyce Says:

    Beautifully written, loved it! And you! 🙂

  3. Anna Says:

    I SO relate to this.
    Thank you….

  4. Priscilla Christenson Says:

    This hits deep and sweet and clear . . . with such a warm fragrance of truth. Thank you for articulating what many of us feel. I am raising a cup of chai tea in honor of . . . the matters that matter. 🙂

  5. Cathlene Says:

    Molly, unbelievable! I stopped drinking wine about 2 months ago for the same reasons you point out in your article. I tried to explain to people it really wasn’t about the alcohol but about the wine. True not True … don’t know … but I sure feel better since I stopped.

    However I am going fishing with my female fishing buds this weekend … you know how that goes–lots of fun … but I was worried because I did not want to start drinking …

    and then I get your great notice forwarded to me from Matters That Matter …

    thank you so very much …

  6. Molly Says:

    Cathlene… thank you so very much for your thoughtful response. It is miraculous how we are all here for one another – even when we don’t know it. Blessings to you…

  7. Lovely post Molly-
    Encouraged me to look back at why I rarely drink -too much consumption in my home turned me off. But I am trying to wean off of Diet Coke…

  8. Molly Says:

    Thanks Linda…. Many blessings today

  9. Molly, a beautiful, thoughtful observation. I too like a good glass of wine, and then there are times I think to myself- why not a cup of tea? It’s just as relaxing. I’ve brought awareness to my drinking, and try to save it for special reasons, not just a daily habit.
    Kudos to you on your realization and thanks for sharing it with us.

    love to you.

  10. Gayle M Clifford Says:

    Wow! So right on, I know a few people I could send this to, but I am afraid it will offend them more thean help them, but then again, the truth always does hurt. Maybe I will press FORWARD and see if I can mabe help one person see the light of day as they say.

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