“Mom, There’s Wine in the Fridge”

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The other day, I opened up the fridge in my kitchen to get something to drink–like a glass of orange juice or sparkling water. I pulled the door ajar, and noticed an open bottle of Fiddlehead Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, flanked in between a container of milk and the Hershey’s chocolate syrup. I couldn’t help but wonder: what do my children (ages 16, 13 and 9) think when they search for a beverage and come across that green bottle, half full and stuffed with a cork?

The truth is, I don’t think they think much of it. And I’m glad they don’t. In our home, wine is enjoyed with food by my husband and me as much and as frequently as a mug of hot cocoa or a chilled glass of lemonade. My kids ask for the occasional taste, and we allow them, hoping that this may be the better–and more sensible–route to avoiding the “forbidden fruit” phenomenon.

On the other hand, they have come to realize–and we have openly discussed–the fact that their grandmother is an alcoholic. So, I assume there is some concern on their part when they see their mom and dad sipping away during most of our family dinners.

My great hope is that our model of moderation is something they are steadily absorbing. That they understand that it is possible–for many, but not all–to enjoy the fruit of the vine without getting drunk, plastered or addicted. They’ve seen a close family member in bad shape. And in some way, I’m not unhappy that they’ve seen it, because it perhaps shows them that when abused, drinking can lead them down a potentially tragic path.

So for the meantime, we’ll continue to leave those open and unfinished bottles of wine in our fridge (when my mother is not around, that is). And it’ll hopefully continue to be as mundane for my kids as a jar of mustard, a container of yogurt, a bottle of marinade, or whatever else they’ll find in there…

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