Wednesday, June 22, 2011

447. Motherhood Is Cabernet

Robert Mondavi famously said, “Wine to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living. When I pour a glass of truly fine wine, when I hold it up to the light and admire its color, when I raise it to my nose and savor its bouquet and essence, I know that wine is, above all else, a blessing, a gift of nature, a joy as pure and elemental as the soil and vines and sunshine from which it springs.”

And too much can give you a really bad headache.

Motherhood implies passion centered on one’s children. Family and friends encourage mothers by saying endearing things like, “Isn’t he adorable?” or “She looks exactly like you!” They sometimes will help out by babysitting, but then they inevitably end up bringing the kid back after only a few short hours.

Motherhood is warmth and generosity. Moms cheer their children on even when they have inherited their mothers’ pitiful athletic genes and are obviously very bad at something, like t-ball. They keep standing there repeating to their uncoordinated progeny, “You can do it! Go, Bears!” even though the name of the team is Alligators. Moms are generous with their time and money. They waste two hours at Target and then online looking for the perfect “LEGO Master Builder Academy Kit to Boost Intergalactic Building Skills” that a certain someone had to have for his birthday even though he will build it and lose interest a mere 15 minutes later.

Motherhood means art. It means accepting art made by chubby fingers and rainbow colors mixed with glitter and love, but actually resembling a mud swirl and regurgitated eggs. It is posting the art on the refrigerator until hopefully someone forgets about it and it can be mercifully removed and placed in a “special folder” in the garage or basement right next to the expired canned goods and wrinkled Christmas wrapping paper.

Motherhood is culture. And by that, we all know I am referring to the verb “culture,” as in “maintain tissue, cells, bacteria in conditions suitable for growth.” Oh, yes. Because kids are surrounded by all kinds of bacteria and therefore get sick a lot, and moms must establish a first-name familiarity with all the nurses at the pediatrician’s office, often baking them cookies or asking them about their dog or their trip to Florida.

Motherhood is the essence of civilization ... if you define civilization by focusing on “the extensive use of record-keeping, including writing, and the appearance of complex political and social institutions.” Because in the Mother Olympics, mothers must be able to locate a birth certificate, Social Security number, library card, and baby wipes in a 30-second time frame. Mothers are also required to write everything down, things like carpool schedules, playdates, swim meets, lest everyone forget and (Heaven forbid) actually have an enjoyable “free” Saturday with no activities whatsoever. Moms are also intimately acquainted with the complex political and social aspects of family life, complete with phrases like, “That’s not fair!” or “His piece of pizza is bigger!” or “Why does he get to stay up later than me?”

Mothers have noses, noses that work surprisingly well. This is a training tactic first developed in pregnancy when moms-to-be can suddenly smell barbeques six blocks away. (amusing blog on covert mom skills, come back and read later)  Moms know the difference between clean hands and dirty hands just by smelling (even if they heard the water running, it is likely actual soap was not involved). Moms can sniff out dirty diapers three rooms away. Moms can also detect chocolate their spouses may have hidden in the back of the extra refrigerator in the garage.

Motherhood, when swum in constantly 24/7 without a break, can induce headaches and, sometimes, fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of little people getting hurt on playgrounds. Motherhood is a dangerous place, and women need to be mentally prepared before attempting such a (foolish) endeavor, an endeavor that will last a lifetime, not just 18 years like those alluring ads promise.

But most of all, motherhood is “a blessing, a gift of nature, a joy as pure and elemental as the soil and vines and sunshine from which it springs.” Thank you, Robert Mondavi, for putting it into words. I will never look at a glass of Cabernet in quite the same way now.

(“Motherhood Or Vineyard”)


  1. Oh how I love the tortuous texts from a 20 year old 2000 miles away. They hurt my head and warm my heart. I'm a happy Mom. ;-)

  2. And so happy that I've found your blog!

  3. Welcome, Patty! (and check out my archives ...).



When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)