Looking back, it’s clear that motherhood has tamed me.
Not that I was jumping out of airplanes, or burning my bra in the good old days—but I certainly wasn’t the Pinterest-loving, laundry maiden that I am now, either. Life before kids was something entirely other.
As a dedicated mother of two, my days consist of order, routine and responsibility. I bend to the will of my children, and my entire existence is spent keeping them safe, happy and healthy. But, there was a time—before the days of yoga pants and early bedtimes—that I wasn’t quite so organized and responsible.
Before mom-hood, I was a small town girl who liked beer and football on Friday nights— fancy wasn’t really my thing. I worked in a small salon and threw darts with my friends on Sundays. We preferred hole-in-the-wall bars with mismatched carpet; I’d take denim over lace any day of the week.
I was twenty-four when my boyfriend invited me to be his date at a friend’s wedding. It was a little ways from home, but since my boyfriend’s parents were also invited, they offered us a ride and a place to stay. I’d met them both a few times before, but didn’t know them well, so I hoped this trip would be an opportunity to get better acquainted.
The wedding went off without a hitch,
and before we knew it, we were arriving at the post-nuptial dinner and reception. Upon entering the beautiful historic building, and gawking at the lavish, multi-tiered cake, I realized I was in uncharted waters. These were not the twinkle lights at the Elk Lodge I was used to. It was gorgeous—easily the fanciest wedding I had ever attended.
After a lovely dinner the celebration continued. People around us mingled and danced. When my boyfriend and his buddies reached for a beer, I noticed that all the ladies seemed to be drinking wine. Beer was definitely my preferred drink, but I was trying to blend in, so I ordered wine too. Aside from Boone’s Farm, I didn’t have much experience with wine, and realized far too late: you cannot drink wine at the same pace you can drink beer.
By the end of the night,
I was a mess. I wasn’t falling down or sobbing about my pet cat who died when I was eight, but I was intoxicated to say the least. As the party drew to a close, my boyfriend and I met-up with his parents.
I did my best to appear sober, as I climbed in the back of their minivan. A few minutes into the trip my boyfriend leaned his head against the seat and closed his eyes. I followed suit, ready to give my tired, wine-drunk eyes a break.
But my rest was short-lived.
A ferocious wave of nausea came over me and I bolted upright in my seat. I was going to vomit and had mere seconds to devise a plan.
I reached for the window, only to realize minivan windows don’t roll down. I thought briefly about sliding the van door open, but didn’t trust myself not to fall out and die, so that was not an option. I could ask for the vehicle to be pulled over, but I knew that if I opened my mouth the jig was up. My options were dwindling by the second, but I just couldn’t bring myself to puke on the floor of his parent’s van.
SWEET MOTHER OF MOSCATO! SOMEONE HELP ME!
Panic took over and I could feel the wine burning in the back of my throat. Without further consideration, I opened my $400 handbag and “released the Kraken” as we say back home.
As I lifted my head from my purse, and wiped my mouth on the back of my hand, I saw the horrified expression on my boyfriend’s face. Although it was dark, I’m certain I could see smoke rising from this head. I silently mouthed the words,
As luck would have it, we still had a 45 minute car ride ahead of us. I sat stone-faced in the back seat, my vomit-filled purse resting in my lap. The aroma in the van was almost unbearable, but not a word was mentioned about what had occurred. In fact, no one said anything at all. I was beyond mortified and couldn’t bring myself to address the elephant in the room—or rather, the vomit in the purse. So I, too, acted as if nothing had happened.
When we arrived at his parent’s house, I wanted to jump in my car and flee to Mexico, start a new life with a new identity, but I was in no shape to drive. So, I threw my disgusting purse into the trunk of my car, washed my face, and went to bed.
I awoke before dawn the next morning and the previous evening’s events came flooding back. There was no way I could ever face these people again. I quietly collected my things and tiptoed out of the house. I didn’t wake my boyfriend or even leave him a note. What would I say? “Sorry I got hammered and puked in your parent’s minivan. My bad.”
No. I just left.
As I drove away, I began planning my new life, in a new city— where no one would ever know what I did. It was a really good plan, but, instead, I married the guy and those poor, kind people are now my in-laws.
My boyfriend called when he woke up and discovered I was missing. I knew I had to apologize to his parents, so I returned to the scene of the crime and begged their forgiveness. They laughed—a lot. My future father-in-law made me breakfast and I ate it squeamishly and promised to never drink wine again.
I’m proud to say, almost ten years and two kids later, that that Coach purse was the only handbag I have ever vomited in. I did, eventually, drink wine again, but not with the same speed and enthusiasm as on that fateful night.
Like I said, motherhood has tamed me. And definitely for the best.