Four years ago today, I gave birth to a darling, precious son I didn’t believe I could have.
It may seem crazy, but I am one of two girls, and my mother is one of two girls so it just seemed natural that I would have two girls as well.
When Stephen was born, I remember feeling so anxious I immediately entered a state of claustrophobia. I just could not wrap my head around what to do with a son, much less one who could do nothing for himself.
His first 8 months were shared with wine books and study questions as I geared up to take the Master Sommelier Exam for the first time. I remember watching him sleep in his crib while I tried to memorize the four yeasts used in Sherry production.
Baby Stephen, as I named him, cried in frustration during these months, maybe in hopes of me leaving the wine notes to spend more time enjoying his smallness.
Not to be distracted or deterred from my path of becoming a Master Sommelier, I muffled his cries with frustrated sighs of my own.
The first two years of Stephen’s life were not simple. It would be easy to blame him as being a difficult baby, but as I reflect, I know the truth: I was a difficult mama.
A child doesn’t complicate your life. A child makes you come to immediate grips with what you need to change in your life, and in my instances, the child is ‘right-on’ about what needs to stay and what needs to go.
A child requires nourishment, of course, but a happy child requires love and attention. If you lack in either of these areas, they will be sure to let you know.
The year 2011 marked my fourth attempt at taking the Master Sommelier Exam.
When I came home from Dallas that Sunday, I said good-bye to the program with a letter to the court and a good cry to my husband.
When I woke up Monday morning, I felt a feeling that cannot be described, a high that reached the heavens, a relief that kept relieving.
Of course, it was tough telling people over and over again I had not passed, but it didn’t take away from that feeling of relief that had come from my decision to stop trying.
In fact, it felt amazing. My family supported me through each and every one of my attempts, and they were even more supportive when I told them I wasn’t going back.
My exact words were, “I’m done. I am worn out. I can’t play anymore. I have everything I need to be a wonderfully excellent, professional sommelier. In fact, I have enough to run a successful restaurant. I have enough to have two children and a husband who love me no matter what I pass or don’t pass. Almost 11 years later, my ride is ending. It is ending because I am truly happy with what I have and who I have become. I thank the Court for being a major part of my wine route. I would not be where I am without you.”
The minute I sent that letter, I believe my wine career reached another plane. A plane that took me on a trip to loving wine rather than worrying about wine. It also took me to a place where I could soar as a parent and a wife, a place where everything became balanced, in a very harmonious way.
It took me a while to write this blog and to actually admit to those who have been on my Master Sommelier journey that I am going to stay where I am.
Last night when I got home from work, I sat on the couch to enjoy a glass of bubbly before crashing in bed. As per usual, Baby Stephen woke up and ran into the living room, crying about a bad dream.
He sat on my lap while I stroked his hair and watched him calm down in my arms.
About two minutes later, Cynthia, having heard his cries, ran out to join us.
Last year at this time, my other hand would have been on my laptop trying to memorize the aging requirements of Franciacorta Saten.
This night, however, my left hand was free to take Cynthia into my lap and to love on them both at the same time.
My friends, I am not giving up, and I am not giving in.
I am just giving more.
More to those who really deserve my time and energy.
My son turning four helped me see that very clearly.