Drinking With Mom
There is the moment she first held you in her arms, and the times she bandaged and kissed the bruises, made you soup when you were sick, put up with all your teenage mood swings...
But there is no mother-child bond quite as great as the time you first got drunk together as adults.
Ours happened to occur on Mother’s Day.
I am an only child, and my very professional, hard-working parents rarely spend much of their down time apart. My mom and I have rarely had the opportunity to hang out alone once I reached adulthood - it’s just how things worked out. That Mother’s Day, my dad had to leave town for a conference, and left me in charge of taking mom out.
I don’t remember where we ate dinner. But I do remember things went well on our “date.” It was one of those nights you don’t want to end too soon. So I asked her, “Want to go visit John?”
John is a one of my best friends and a great friend to my whole family. He also happens to be a bartender and was working his usual Sunday shift at the 11th Street Barin the East Village. Mom adores him, and his South London accent only ups the ante on the charm factor. The combination of being the proverbial mouse out to play and the rare opportunity for her to hang with the East Village crowd was too good to pass up.
We found two seats at the bar. I knew most of the regulars, who all greeted her warmly and even offered to pay for our rounds. Soon John and my mother were bantering away. She can be quippy anyway, but on this night, she was in rare form. She kept up with everyone, including in the way of drinks.
We were on Jameson highballs. They were too easy to drink, and we weren’t turning down refills. I don’t remember how many we had, but I do remember the precipice. The moment of reckoning. One more?
“How many have we had?”
She looked at me. She looked at John. She looked at the friends seated around us. When would she have another night like this?
“Ok. One more.”
John refilled our drinks another time.
Just then, I felt my purse vibrating against my leg. I took out my phone. It was lit up like a Christmas tree, all of Dad’s attempts to reach me. Uh oh. Busted.
I went outside to call him. His flight was canceled and he had decided to head home, hoping to catch up with us wherever we went. He’d been back at their apartment for hours, frantic.
“She’s here with me at 11th St., Dad.”
“You’re BOTH there. Now? It’s after midnight!”
“Are you two drunk?”
I glanced through the window into the bar, saw her sitting on the stool happily chatting with one of the regulars who was keeping her company while I was away, and giggled. “Probably.”
I was reminded she works early on Mondays. She shouldn’t stay out so late on a school night. What if she’s hungover? I should find a cab for her. Now.
I went back in and told her we’d better pay the bill and get her home. Considering all we’d had to drink, she was well composed (maybe I wasn’t switched at birth with an Irish Catholic family after all?), and shook everyone’s hand, accepted John’s kiss on the cheek. I found her that cab, and made sure the driver knew where to go.
Of all the fancy dinners and brunches over the years at some of New York City’s best restaurants, it was my favorite Mother’s Day ever. My parents are in London this year. Dad better get her some Irish Whiskey served up by a charming Englishman.
Cheers to all the mothers out there! Thanks for doing all you do!
Editor in Chief