I did not have a birthday cocktail this year. Our family was in the midst of another mini crisis and I just couldn’t fathom the idea. Covid-19 was already in my body. I didn’t prefer to enhance the experience with a drink.
90 consecutive days of being alcohol free at the beginning of this year taught me a lot about my patterns and relationship with drinking. I am finally at peace with not ever needing it again on a daily, nightly, or even weekly basis. It took a while (decades) to finally land on “only on special occasions”.
Today I scrolled through past birthday photos on my phone. Last year (the 40th), I put a LOT of effort into positioning myself and my champagne flute of mimosa into the family photos.
Obligatory cheers and toast photos are ultimate time wasters and that particular mimosa was no exception. It was an honorary guest at the celebration and it required a photo op, although I’m pretty sure that aside from the “special occasion”, I had consumed drinks the days leading up to my birthday, and kept it going afterward too.
Mimosa even got a solo snapshot by itself, strategically placed in front of my kid’s toys.
Photos of alcoholic beverages that are intentionally placed next to symbols of parenthood make me cringe. Especially my own. I have taken a lot of them.
A twisted self portrait. That glass not only held O.J.and bubbles but it was the place where I unloaded what I was trying to cope with. Grief. Fear. The pandemic. Burnout from multitasking ALL THE TIME.
Looking back I realize that for me, I just needed a little more reassurance that things would be ok, or better yet, I needed to find more peace with things not being ok. Mimosa (among other beverages) and the cocktail-centric photos I’ve taken in the past were just masks and bandaids for those needs.
Now I feel REALLY silly.
Since that last birthday mimosa in 2020, more situations came up in life that were definitely not okay.
Thankfully during the process of really sitting in yucky feelings, I learned how to remove the cover-up.
And of course I took photos. Things that took center stage on my beloved camera roll were no longer vessels that held the liquid courage. They actually ended up providing some health benefits too. What a concept.
And one of my favorites: almost one year after my 40th: Me and her, and not one mimosa between us.
■ Elementary Educator for Equity & Cultural Responsibility
■ Collector of Small Moments & Thrifty Finds
■ Wife & Mother
■ Bay Area, CA