Today is the day after Mother’s Day; it’s also a Monday; I am also sipping my first glass of wine of the work week. I still have some sentiment that survived the first day back at work after a great weekend and it has me thinking about my very first glass of wine. #Nostalgia (Oh, wait… I am not currently on Instagram… so just “Nostalgia”)
As an adult I spent many years many miles and states away from my family for pretty much every major and minor holiday. Since moving back to my home town about a year ago I have made up for lost time by spending holidays, weekends, evenings after work – every opportunity I have – catching up for lost time. A top priority has been my secretly elderly grandmother. I say secretly because although she has surpassed the age of 90 she still is never caught without high heels on, hair done and very fashion forward outfits and accessories.
She’s never been a traditional grandmother in the sense that she was rarely in the kitchen unless it was to make a drink, she went salsa dancing every Friday through her late 70s, and her favorite grandmother/granddaughter bonding involved long hours at the mall. If she weren’t 4’11” and size 5 shoes – her closet would have been what I was raiding in my high school years. Instead I was stuck stealing my sister’s clothes (Sorry, sis!).
I have a lot of memories of growing up with her as a favorite mentor. Playing dress up at her house when I was 10 and actually the same size as her is a highlight. I remember her saving the best parts of the rotisserie chicken she brought home for dinner for her dog. I remember her threatening us with any object within reach if we didn’t behave – her high heel, the broom, the fly swatter. And I remember her never following through… at least with me (Sorry again, sis. And naughty cousins). I remember trying on her lipstick and spritzing her Chanel no 5 on my neck (she probably should have more than threatened me at this point).
And I remember Mother’s Day when I was around 9 years old. She and I were out with my mom and sister for a girls’ lunch. The second my sister and mom walked away to use the restroom my grandmother pushed her wine glass in front of me. I am sure I looked at her like she was crazy because she laughed.
“It’s no big deal. They serve it in church, don’t they?”
“Hurry, before your mom comes back!”
Now my grandma may have seen this as European and cool… but she was also smart enough to know my mom wouldn’t agree. I took a quick swig and tried not to make a face as my mom returned with my sister. This was the first sip. I don’t know if it was good; not likely as it was just the house wine at a place holding Mother’s Day brunch. I do remember it was red. And I remember my grandmother winking at me with her long, fake eyelashes when my mom asked her if she was enjoying her wine. Our secret. I don’t know if she did the same with my sister or my cousins when I wasn’t around; if she did we were all pretty good at keeping the secret from even each other.
Now I realize this isn’t much of a story – just a brief memory from childhood. The first sip of thousands and many more to come. But to me, that day, that secret, are the basis of a close adult friendship I’ve come to have with my grandmother. The first of secrets we’ve kept, gossip we’ve shared. More than 20 years later and I still love to share a glass of wine with her and talk about our lives. At 90+ years she’s lived 3 times longer than me and has the stories to prove it. She’s shared wine with incredible people of the past; she’s had wine made from grapes grown on vines long ago replaced and vintages from before I was ever born; but today, her favorite person to open a bottle of wine with is me.