Drinking too much in May of 2009.
I spent most of my time in May of 2009 in rehearsals for "Barefoot in the Park." It is a surprisingly difficult show- the acting is straightforward enough, but it is so literal and prop-specific that it's a lot to learn. So when Ryan called and invited Steve (the actor playing Paul, who was also one of my college students caught in the crossfire of my graduation party events- he's the one who watched me fall into the tree...) if we wanted to go out after rehearsal, the answer was an enthusiastic yes. We had so much to learn, we just needed to relax.
So, another evening starts out simply enough. And we left the bar at a reasonable hour, feeling little more than buzzed. Ryan and I reminisced about all the time we spent in bars in Athens. We talked about Night Court, and Flaming Lemon Drops.
"What's a flaming lemon drop?" Steve wanted to know.
And that's where the evening changed.
This was unacceptable. What were they teaching these kids in college, anyway? It was our duty to teach Steve the wonder that is the Flaming Lemon Drop.
For non-Bobcats, it's a shot of lemon vodka, and a slice of lemon that one bites immediately after shooting the vodka, much like a tequila shot. But instead of salt, lemon drops involve sugar. And when the lemon drop is flaming, the sugar is poured directly on top of the lemon, soaked with 151, and lit on fire. So you can understand how very important it was that we pass this lesson on. It was our duty.
And it didn't take very many flaming lemon drops before the three of us were sitting on the front porch, laughing hysterically. Eventually we got chilly and headed inside. But on our way in, I noticed the mail on the floor. I stopped to glance through it as Ryan and Steve continued into the studio, where more lemon drops were waiting. I noticed one of the envelopes was from our adoption agency, so I decided it was appropriate to read and interpret the letter right then.
What the letter actually said: (a paraphrase)
Sometimes it takes longer than a year for families to be matched. Since the agency needs cash flow to match families, from now on if you've been waiting more than a year we ask that you pay $5000 towards your total fee. (the entirety of which would generally be due at placement.)
What I read:
Give us $5000 right now, or you will never be a mother.
Meanwhile, the guys were in the studio, pouring more lemon drops when Ryan realized I wasn't with them. "Is she crying?" Ryan asked.
"How did you know that? I didn't even realize she wasn't with us." was Steve's answer.
"We've been married a long time," Ryan explained, as he came back to the living room.
Ryan and Steve found me on the couch sobbing- SOBBING- curled in a tight ball, the letter from the adoption agency dangling from my fingers. Steve did his best to comfort me while Ryan read the letter, trying to understand what possibly could have provoked such a response. (all the while knowing that, as we've learned, it doesn't take much to provoke such a response...)
"Sweetheart, this doesn't have anything to do with us. Honestly. We've only been approved for four months. If it seems like it's gonna be a year, we'll deal with that then."
And, as is my usual way, I cried. And cried and cried and cried. Until they left me alone for a moment. And then, I made my move. Into the bedroom, and into the closet, where we had been storing our carseat/stroller travel system. (a "paper pregnancy" gift from Ryan's parents, since this is the one item a parent MUST have just to take a baby home.) Ryan found me moments later struggling to pull the unassembled stroller out of the closet. Where was I going with the stroller? I didn't know then, and I don't know no, but I assure you- it was going to be dramatic.
Ryan did the only thing a loving husband can possibly do in this situation. He gave me a slight push, toppling me over onto our bed, where I stayed until morning.
That was May 14, 2009. Lily was born three days later.
So what did I learn from drinking too much?
1- Sometimes deciding that something is never ever ever going to happen is a little premature.
2- If left alone, I will eventually fall asleep.
3- Reading the mail drunk is a bad idea.
4- I do not have an addictive personality. I do not have a family history of alcoholism. I do not drive motor vehicles nor do I opporate heavy machinery while drunk. I also don't spend time with anyone who would do anything but make sure I was safe. Is drinking too much a good idea as a habit? Absolutely not. But in these rare cases where a tightly-wound, emotionally wounded woman was not allowing herself to feel the anxiety and pain and frustration- you know what? Sometimes drinking too much is the answer.