Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wine Saves Lives

Today I sent Sophie on her first day of kindergarten. The whole way there, I felt like hurling. "Are you OK, Soaf?" I kept asking her. "Are you OK, honey?" She was. When it came time for her to go, she got in line and left without even saying goodbye. She looked like she'd been going to elementary school her whole life. The pride! The relief! The exclamation points! Looking back on her short life and my slightly longer one, I felt the same way watching her roll over for the first time, or sing all the verses to "Clementine" for my dad. Thank goodness she's made it to the next milestone. She must be a genius! And all inflation, all pontification aside, we have so much to be grateful for, it's ridiculous.

This is Tessa Paprocki, her husband Adam, and their son Landon. I didn't know them, but my friend Andre worked with Tessa at Synergy Fine Wines, an independent wine distributor in Denver. It was probably right around the time this picture was taken, sometime in January, 2009, that Tessa learned she had stage four breast cancer that had spread to her lungs, spine, and liver. Tessa died, following a series of treatments, in July. Landon is now eight months old.

Tessa didn't see Landon walk or talk. His first day of school is a handful of his lifetimes away. Adam is a new, first-time parent who's probably scared to death, like I was, only he's got to figure out how to raise a baby as a single dad and the keeper of Mama's memory.

Breast cancer.

Yesterday Andre emailed her friends to let them know that Synergy Fine Wines is donating to Landon's trust 100% of the wholesale price of one of their wines: The 2008 Lucia Lucy Rosé from Pisoni Vineyards. No strangers to championing the cause of fighting breast cancer, the Pisoni family donates a portion of Lucy Rosé sales to the Susan B. Komen Foundation and local individuals fighting breast cancer--and they've done so since Lucy's inception. So it's fitting that you'll find a pink ribbon 'round every bottle of Lucy.

When the Pisonis heard about Landon, they offered to donate an additional 40 cases for the cause. The Synergy sales reps, warehouse and delivery teams offered their support at no charge, along with the freight company, Advantage Transportation. Now you can play along too. If you're in Boulder, you can support the Paprockis by buying Lucy Rosé in Boulder at three local retailers. I bought three bottles today to celebrate this startling transition to a new trend in our family's history--going to school without bitterly complaining the whole way.

Face it: You're going to buy wine this weekend anyway. And if you're like me, you walk into Boulder Liquor Mart with its six acres of shelves, choke, and end up with a bottle you picked because there was a hedgehog on the label. But now you know better. Wherever you are, buy Lucy, support women, and say "yes!" to life. And when you buy it at one of these local retailers, you help Landon. When you drink it, don't forget to thank your lucky stars and make a toast to someone you love. Spread the word.

Find Lucy at:
Liquor Mart 1750 15th St, Boulder (303) 449-3374
Boulder Wine Merchant 2690 Broadway St, Boulder (303) 443-6761
Superior Liquor 100 Superior Plaza Way # 100, Superior (303) 499-6600

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kindergarten Krisis

I am avoiding going to the store for school lunch fixin's. I am most decidedly dragging my feet on this, the day before the day before Sophie starts Kindergarten. I had no idea I would feel so much anxiety, such nostalgia, such terror. I've spent the better part of today feeling fragile and weepy, probably because it seems impossible that I'm going to commit my little girl to a big brick building with a flagpole outside, where she will stay all day with people she doesn't already know, and then come out, hopefully holding the same lunch bag she went in with. I know I will obsess over whether it's empty at the end of the day, or still packed with 2/3 of the food I sent with her. And so I will drag my feet through the grocery store, choosing the things that will become Sophie's first school lunches with the care that Indiana Jones chose the grail. Will I choose wisely?

I took Sophie to her last day of preschool this morning. She's been going there since the age of 20 months, with a brief hiatus while we served a winter-long sentence in Vail. On her first day there, she sat down for circle time and requested the song "Pistol Packin' Mama." When her teacher said she didn't know it, Sophie reminded her that it started with the lyrics, "Drinkin' beer in a cabaret..."

Our preschool was a small school where everyone knew each other, and where I felt super comfortable. I considered it an extension of our own home environment: A place where I wasn't afraid to be myself. I wrote the class newsletter (sometimes), and helped organize events. I went along on field trips, and made phone calls urging parents to attend the next meeting. Sometimes. I joined a school-sponsored exercise group and carped about Alex's carping about tuition. Lunches and snacks were provided; I never packed one meal. Now that all that's over, I don't know what I'm doing. How exciting.

And I don't know that her new school will know what it's doing, either. How will Sophie's teacher know that such subtle cues as wanting to sit down and rest mean that a trip to the school nurse--and then probably home--is in order? How will she know that the statement, "I have a forehead," means that she's feverish and headache-y? How will she know that Sophie spends as much time falling down as she does standing up? Who will be there to apply the bandage, and will it have princesses on it? I am tempted to write a how-to manual, staple it to Sophie's shirt, and then show up at school to read it aloud. I am tempted to tattoo her address and phone number to her belly, upside down, so that if she blanks, she can look down her shirt and read it to whomever needs to call me--stat.

Thankfully, Sophie is unable to come along for my midlife crisis-like hayride. Her excitement is palpable; she couldn't be happier about this next adventure in big-girl beginnings, which is why my behavior must baffle her right out of the pink Chuck Taylor's she's about to outgrow. While I was rooting around the fridge for the makings of yesterday's one-food-group dinner that we ate standing at the island in the kitchen instead of the table, Sophie mentioned her friend, Grace. "Mom, can you believe two of Gracie's teeth are loose?" I spun around, pointed my finger at her and said, "Don't even think about starting to lose your teeth yet!"

But I have hope that by the time the leaves fall and it's dark enough in the mornings that an alarm is necessary to wake up on time, I'll have it together. I imagine we'll get busy making bake sale cookies and memorizing school plays. And it'll be like I'm getting to go to school all over again, only with wine and chocolate at the end of the day instead of milk and carrot sticks. I'll learn all over again what kind of mother I am, and what kind I'll become. And if I get stuck, I can always ask Sophie for help. She seems to have everything under control.