When Life Hands You Madness, Smuggle in the Wine

During a week of utter craziness, my only “normal” was wine. In fact, the wine may have saved me from a full Jerry Maguire wig-out. It gave me levity, a chance to breathe, and to take things into perspective.

Wednesday: Early arrival at hospital for teen daughter’s spine surgery. She was in surgery and recovery for way longer than my frazzled nerves could handle. Finally, late at night, we were settled into her room, the glow of the hospital sign on the building casting the only light, machines beeping though nurses gone. I cracked open the wine I smuggled in—Frank Family Vineyards 2015 Carneros Pinot Noir. I poured a glug into a Starbucks cup and shed a tear. A tear that the surgery was over, that I was exhausted, and that this wine was truly as good as I had hoped and needed.

Thursday: My husband and I traded-off hospital shifts, ensuring our other daughter could partake in her softball life. Our rapport during these shift changes were often centered on the location of the smuggled wine, not hogging all of the wine, and can you believe how great this wine is?! I returned to the hospital late one night after softball practice, and my husband assured me there was a bit of the Frank Family pinot left. I didn’t disclose to him that I also upped the ante with a bit of bubbly in my Hello Kitty water bottle.   While my daughter snoozed to the drum of her pulse machine and IV drip, I finagled the furniture so I could enjoy my bubbles and also watch some baseball—and promptly kicked over the Hello Kitty water bottle chock-full of Marques de la Concordia MM Reserva de Familia Rose Brut. In a panic of getting busted, I mopped it up and relished that there was still a bit of greatpinot to be had. I poured the wine into my Starbucks cup and maneuvered a bit to get comfortable, kicking over the cup containing the last drops of the tasty and mood-altering pinot. OH MAN. Red wine has a stronger nose than sparkling, so now I’m really panicking. After cleaning up yet again, I put calming essential oils all over me to mask the scent.  I was drowning in lavender oil, but all out of wine.

Through the weekend, we continued our shifts, watching our daughter progress at a remarkable rate, sharing news of innings pitched by the other daughter, and soothing our souls with late-night wine. My husband hogged most of the Gamble Family Vineyards 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. After softball in the 90-degree heat and what felt like monsoonal humidity, I savored a favorite of mine, the Gamble Family Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, which earned status as my new go-to-summer-sauvignon.

While life handed our family surgery, softball, miles on the 5 Freeway, and worry beyond belief, we came out the other side with tales of success. Our secret sauce to withstand the angst and celebrate the joys—wine.


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