I take my evening beverage very seriously. Once the sun begins its descent, I start the long unwind to bedtime with a beer or glass of wine. Lest you despair that I’m in a rut, do know that I’ve recently seen the wisdom of adding vodka to the repertoire. I mean, really, can a stool stand on only two legs? It takes three, right? Let’s just call vodka, in our special buddy-buddy bloggerspeak, “Jocelyn’s Third Leg.” You have my permission to use that in your posts (for example: “I had the kind of cottonmouth that morning, during the Long Walk of Shame back to my apartment, that only comes from having swallowed copious amounts of Jocelyn’s Third Leg the night before…”).
Generally, then, when I’m tucking the kids in, it’s with drink in hand. Since I don’t wear a watch, it’s only fair that I get my choice of alternate accessory, right? I tote my beer bottle with all the ease of a red-plaid Swatch on the wrist, truth be told. To up the bling factor of my favorite accessory, I’m considering inventing a Cocktail Hip-Holster, studded with rhinestones [patent pending].
In lieu of Holster, though, I currently just use Hand. Hand holds the bottle while I help the kids with flossing, brushing, getting into jammies. Hand is a well-balanced, reliable individual; Hand is my righthand man, metaphorically…but not literally, as I tend to grip with the left.
There is no better testament to the kind of devoted mother I am than the fact that I do order Hand to set down the beer or wine when it’s time for us (Hand and me) to climb onto the kids’ beds and read If You Take a Mouse to School or Sideways Tales from Wayside School. See, I have this annoying moral dictate that if I ever spill the Gewurtztraminer on the dinosaur sheets, I’ll have to–frick–change them before letting the kid sleep on them. And I do so hate heaving my bulk towards the linen closet. So Hand leaves the drink on the vanity whilst I read.
Last week, there was a night when I had a glimpse into the long-term consequences of Hand’s habits. The Wee Niblet, naked and therefore rightfully giddy, took a notion to play “Monster” as we prepped for bed. My assigned role was to be Da Monster, snarling and gesturing as wildly as a full beer bottle would allow, dashing around after the nekkid lad. Up and down the hall he ran, shrieking with mock fear, as I quasimodoed after him, fully engaged in simultaneous kid carousing and beer protection.
As is my wont, however, I had some meta-discourse going in my noggin as I thrashed to and fro on the Persian rug, gnashing my rotting and smelly Monster teeth. I began imagining how Niblet’s freshman composition essays might read in fifteen years, when he one day taps into his personal experiences to support some larger point:
“What I recall best from my early years was my mother–a monster of a woman–chasing me around the house, as I fled from her, naked and terrorized; so clearly, I still remember how she roared at me to get to bed, her omnipresent beer in hand (always the priority), even when she tackled me to the floor in a fearsome rage.”
His hard-knock life story might just win him an A, moreso than any “…and my family was really nice, and we ate a lot of chicken and sometimes yogurt too, and I liked my tricycle with the little bell on it” narrative ever could. As a teacher of freshman composition, I know this. We are suckers for adversity overcome.So a high five to you, Hand, for your role in getting the Niblet into graduate school one day. Keep on tipping those bottles and glasses for the cause of Higher Education.