It hasn’t taken long, just a couple of short weeks and some odd days, for Sonja and I to see how different our lives are now with two children. We went from being able to double team Titus to playing 1-on-1, and thereby, almost never getting a break. The other day, Sonja watched both children while I paced a half marathon in nearby Lincoln, then retreated to the bi-annual wine show at the Omaha Wine Company. When that ended, I went home and took the kids while she went to Target. (We do pretty different things to unwind, obviously.)
I’d been with Titus and Zooey on my own, taking a walk, for all of fifteen minutes before they nearly overtook me. Titus was his usual, laissez faire self, while Zooey screamed as if to suggest she were being kidnapped and that passersby should apprehend me. I tried to call Sonja with the phone, but realized the new, much longer stroller doesn’t handle well with one hand, and quickly gave that up. The sun was beating down so I put my cap over Zooey’s exposed little hands, and immediately the wind had my hair in my face to the extent that I nearly pushed the three of us into the street. It might have been comical to watch, though I assure you it was much less so to experience. I don’t generally think of myself as incompetent, but suddenly I had doubts.
These happenings punctuate the significance of tonight, when Sonja graciously and generously suggested I attend a wine tasting so that I could meet the extraordinary Napa winemaker Don Surh. I asked her “are you certain you’ll be okay?” at least half a dozen times before dashing giddily to my car and taking off. At The Winery, Don and I chatted about wine, Napa, mushrooms, and other such things while I learned about and tasted his wine, and also about family. I mentioned that mine was at home, and that they had lovingly let me stop by this event. I enjoyed all of Don’s wines a great deal, and ultimately left with a bottle of the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from the famous Stagecoach Vineyard. Don signed it to my family, suggested we put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes prior to drinking it, and I was on my way. A few hours later, with Titus in bed and Zooey threatening never to sleep again in her life, I commandeered our dresser to use as a table in the bedroom, and removed the stopper.
This is a beautiful wine, so inky-dark in color that I was at first surprised, given the bottle age, that it had not paled much if at all over nine years. We were greeted by an amazing nose of deep purple fruits, coffee, and earth. Upon the palate, a Napa Cabernet that was almost velvety in its mouthfeel, reminiscent of an excellent Merlot. Understated at times, I got notes of deep purple and black fruits persisting through, with hints of cinnamon spice, mushrooms, earthy notes, cedar, and English tea leading into a long dry finish. Over the course of the evening, we enjoyed this wine a great deal, pairing it with comforting our infant daughter as we tried to put her to sleep, as well as some humble cheese I found hidden in the refrigerator. As evenings at home go, it would be hard to imagine a more complete one.
The hardest part about pregnancy for Sonja may have been the discomfort. For me, however, it was losing the person with whom I most enjoy sharing a glass of wine. Two weeks and some odd days ago, I got her back when our precious daughter was born, and tonight I deeply enjoyed sharing a glass of exquisite wine with her. I look forward to more of those in the future. And by “in the future” I mean tomorrow.