I am in the car, in traffic, on a hot weekday afternoon. The Wee One is in the backseat, screaming. I just want to get home.
We finally pull into the driveway. I am thinking about it. We just need to get in the house and then I can go to the fridge. I leave all our bags in the front seat, and get her out of her carseat. I set her feet on the ground so she can walk. "Let's go inside, honey" I say in singsong. So mommy can have her drink I think in my head.
She doesn't want to go inside just yet. It's a sunny, warm afternoon, and she enjoys walking in the grass, down the sloped front yard to the sidewalk, close enough to the street for mommy to pull her away. It's a fun game. I want her to spend time outside, I want to teach her that playing outdoors is fun. I come from a long line of intellectuals for whom "outdoors" doesn't come naturally. I want her to learn to love to be active.
But I also want my drink.
Briefly a flicker of a thought about running inside to grab it while she's playing in the yard, but I wave it away immediately. As much as I want that drink, I won't leave my daughter alone in the front yard to get it. Just a few more minutes and she'll be bored (I hope) and then I can drag her inside.
As I follow her around the yard, it's all I can think about. I know exactly how it will taste the instant it hits my tongue. I'm watching her, but I'm not engaged with her. I'm running a list of how the rest of our evening will go. How long until that first drink. I should only have one, tonight. I had two last night. Tonight will only be one. That first one, fresh in the door, just moments away. Then I will have to figure out what I'm feeding her and then how soon can I get her in the bathtub. Last night I had the second as I was reading her books at bedtime. But tonight I'm only having one. I can just have one.
Finally she is winding down, so I pick her up to bring her inside. The door isn't even closed behind me and I make a beeline for the fridge. In one swift move the door is open, and my hand closes around the can. The familiar hiss as its opened, and then the luscious rush of the first swallow. The tickle of the bubbles on the tongue, the familiar taste, the intense cool of the swallow. Within minutes I have gulped a third of the can. "Have to slow down" I think. "Especially if I'm only having one."
Instantly I am calm. The frazzle of the drive home and the impatience of being delayed with her in the yard have given way to a soft calmness. The rough edges are smoothing over. I'm now patient, quieter, slower. I can sit with her and watch Baby Einstein and point out the animals. I can pick out her favorite pajamas and relish the sound of her repeating "dog" and pointing to every single dog on the legs. I can run her bath and let her relax and play with her bath book and the shampoo.
I take her from the bathtub into her room. I'm almost there, it's almost bedtime. Then I have some alone time. I was only going to have one tonight, but at this point I know it's likely I'll have another. I shouldn't. But I have so much to work on. Stuff for classes I am teaching, classes I am taking, have to write a post for the blog, I'll be up for three hours working.
I put lotion on her and give her a massage. I put the Dog Pajamas on, and lift her to the floor. She starts picking up books to read, and I go to the kitchen to make her oatmeal snack, in the hopes that it will fill her tummy and she will sleep well. In the kitchen, my mind is completely attached to the cans in the fridge. I want so badly to go ahead and give in, open another. It's so bad for me, though. I really shouldn't. I make the oatmeal, and avoid eye contact when I open the fridge for the milk. Back to her room, I breathe a sigh of relief. See, I'm fine, I think.
A few books and a bowl of oatmeal later, she rubs her eyes. Yes, the homestretch! I put her on my shoulder and begin singing a special song to her. She nestles her head into the crook of my neck, and immediately I feel guilty. She is the most precious thing in my life, and I had only a few hours with her this evening, and yet most of it I spent focused on the cans in the fridge. Trying not to want one.
She reaches for her bed, and I lay her down gently. I cover her feet with a blanket, which she kicks off. I sing the last verse of the song, and say goodnight, and pull the door shut.
Oh, heaven, she's going to sleep, and I have my night to myself.
I start for the computer, but who am I kidding? I head to the fridge. Two isn't bad. Two in one night isn't a big deal. I grab the can and open it before I can change my mind. Now I have to drink it, right? Can't let it go to waste. It's already open.
Back to the computer, and I am almost euphoric. I have my drink, I have Twitter and Facebook and my blog and my gmail. Who is my friend today? Who commented and replied and posted? Who thinks I'm witty? I'm calm again, with my drink.
It may not be what you think. I'm talking about .....
My C.oke Addiction!
(Seriously mom, you know I don't drink beer out of cans.)
A friend suggested I write an Ode To C.oke, since I love it so much. How did I do?