Keeping It Quiet
I don’t want to mess this up. I don’t waste the efforts of the past week by having to go through it all again, ever.
I’m protecting it like a fragile thing, nurturing it and holding it close. I want to see it grow a little larger and stronger before I show it to the world.
I want to know it will live.
One of my most vivid and happy memories is of the day my first pregnancy was confirmed. It was spring of 1991. My husband and I were in our early twenties, had been married for nearly two years.
Everything in our young lives was in order and all we needed to complete the picture was for the stick to produce that much coveted blue line. After almost a year of trying, the blue line appeared and I ran from the bathroom to wake my husband with the news, “It’s blue! I’m pregnant! We’re pregnant!!”
We lived in a small town at the time, and my boss’s gossip-y wife was the receptionist in the only local clinic. To keep things on the “down low”, I drove to the next town to confirm the news with a doctor there. Walking back to my car, I wanted to hug everyone I passed and squeal, “I’m pregnant!” I refrained, but many smiled back at me as if my joy was visibly contagious.
Young mothers in those days were often advised to keep the news quiet until they were three months along and knew for sure the pregnancy was viable. It was a most delicious secret, and I loved that the most wonderful thing imaginable was happening to us and no one else knew.
So much of that experience comes back to me now, as I nurture this new life I’ve begin, this new me. I can’t wait to share it with my loved ones, but I want it to be so clear, strong and viable that nothing can take it away from me.
I believe part of the reason I continued drinking for so long was because I was afraid to imagine my life without it. My husband and I have had many wonderful adventures together and the mental postcards I’ve collected all include a beverage: Wiki Wackers on Catalina Island, Margaritas by the Riverwalk in San Antonio, PinaColadas on the beach in Dominican Republic, wine at an outdoor café on the promenade in Santa Monica. As we plan and save for our retirement, we dream of vineyard tours in Italy and having a pint in an Irish pub.
Would I have any fun without alcohol? Would I BE any fun? Would my husband dread the rest of our lives together, saddled with a tea-tottling ninny for a wife?
I have replayed those holiday memories, though harder and remembered all the other moments that were wonderful too, regardless of alcohol. Kayaking around Catalina, dueling pianos in San Antonio, reading all day on the beach in Dominican, and watching a tv show being filmed on that trip to LA.
I just needed a new set of postcards.
So now the jig is up – my inlaws noticed at dinner last night that I turned down wine and innocently asked, “What, are you on the wagon now?” I screwed up my courage and admitted I was.
“Almost a week now.”
“What?!” asked my husband, comically. “You mean I’ve been drinking alone all week and I didn’t even know it?” I’m not sure if he hadn’t realized or just wanted to acknowledge to his parents that this was the first I’d mentioned it.
And that was that, for last night. This morning he asked me, “So you’re not drinking at all?” as we were gearing up to go out skiing. “No, not at all,” I replied. “Until when?” he asked. “I don’t know,” I lied. I do know. I already know that I must never ever drink again. It kills me, it breaks my heart but that’s how it’s going to have to be.
So before I tell him, I want to live with it myself a bit more. I need to see for myself that things will be okay. Today we had a great time skiing and then sat on the deck in the sunshine for happy hour – a beer for my husband and a vitamin water for me.
I’m sad, so sad. I miss my dear companion wine. I’d like to get past grieving before I can sell this new vision of the future.
As we continue to rack up happy experiences together (with me in my new unpickled state), I will be ready to tell my dear husband everything.
I know it will be all right. It just needs some time.