There was a time when I joked that there wasn’t any problem in our lives that couldn’t be fixed with bigger wine glasses.
And we bought some really big ones. Giant wine glasses that could double as cereal bowls, maybe mixing bowls if the situation got desperate enough. We didn’t horse around with our wine glasses. We got the biggest they made. Bucket o’ wine.
In a restaurant, the waiter might bring giant wine glasses to the table and then, after opening the wine, pour a respectable amount of wine in each person’s glass. Maybe a finger, maybe two.
We didn’t do that. Coming from the glass half full school of life, we filled those buckets right up to the halfway mark. Still half a glass of wine, right? Who can find fault with half a glass of wine?
When my mother-in-law was dying and my beloved job was turning to wet shit, my husband and I would drink our giant glasses of wine at dinner and bemoan our troubles. Our younger kids watched, pushing their peas around their plates and waiting to see how dinner would end.
Would there be fireworks or crackerjack? No one ever knew. Including us. Alcohol does that to you, you know, introduce a super fun level of complete unpredictability to your reactions to problems, stress, poor table manners and sibling rivalry. A bucket o’ wine helps you find your last nerve way faster than you would unassisted.
I don’t regret those times. And I don’t feel guilty. Since adopting the parental absolution of all blame policy several years ago, I’ve avoided the kind of introspection that could result in parental owies. Seriously, if it’s in the past, what’s the point of regret? It’s not like I passed out in the mashed potatoes, I was just usually pretty much under the influence by the end of dinner. Oh, and I tended to have a pretty short fuse.
What was I thinking with my old bucket o’ wine dinners? That I deserved it. That my life was hard. My kids were harder. The nightly indulgence was the so well-deserved poultice on my wired, anxious self. It occurs to me now that I was basically running a nightly tutorial for my impressionable children on how to use alcohol to deal with life’s stresses and strains. What did you learn at your mother’s knee?
So my kids are all grown and we still drink. But not like we used to. The cynic in me says that their departure took away the major reason we were drinking so much. The honest part says we grew up, just like they did.
So today, I pulled one of the old, small wineglasses out of the china cabinet. And filled it halfway.
I still believe in the glass being half full.