I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw someone pop open a big bottle of champagne and pour the golden bubbly liquid into a tall sparkling glass, but I remember being dazzled. I pressed my warm nose up to side of the cold glass, watching the tiny bubbles dance and rise to the top in a steady stream, while the warmth of my nose caused a fog of condensation to form. I fantasized of how that sparkly liquid must taste and in my mind it was something like cotton candy and Seven Up… sweet, sparkly and special. Of course, being just a kid I wouldn’t get a taste for quite a long time, but I just couldn’t wait to be a lady and sip from a crystal champagne flute.
Over the years, I watched many bottles of champagne open with a exciting and also terrifying pop and enjoyed the smiles that would fill the room as glasses were poured and passed and the ceremonious “tings” that would chime as glasses were clinked together in cheers. Champagne was for celebration. It signaled a moment. A memorable occasion. Somehow it was important. And I started to build it up in my mind as the ultimate drink, like a taste of heaven in liquid form. I felt like I would “arrive” into the adult world the minute I got to partake in the champagne pour and pass routine.
As I grew into drinking age, I started to do my research and find the best possible champagne… in my budget, and somehow settled on Veuve Clicquot. My first taste of champagne just had to be from that dark green bottle with the orange label. It was elegant. It was considered “the good stuff”. I just couldn’t wait. Days, weeks and months came and went and it actually wasn’t until the glow of the age of 21 and all that it brought kind of wore off when I finally got around to buying that bottle of Veuve. I saved my money and purchased a bottle for some special occasion. It’s funny that I don’t even recall that occasion now. Just that it cost me nearly fifty bucks!
I chilled the bottle until it was icy, carefully popped the cork and poured it into some non-crystal glasses that I had procured from my mother’s house. I took a sip.
I absolutely hated it*. My visions of cotton candy laced with Seven Up were suddenly rudely awakened by the taste of… dried grass, barn doors and sour grapes. At least those were just some of the images that flashed through my head as I choked down that first sip. I just couldn’t believe it. YEARS of fantasizing of this moment and how glorious it would be were instantly squelched. I was devastated. It was a very long time before I thought of champagne again, but there was a little part of me that just didn’t want to give up. It just HAD to be better than that.
I don’t remember the next occasion or even if it was a special moment at all, but I got another “redeeming” taste of champagne. Though it wasn’t the heavenly taste I had always dreamed of, this bottle was GOOD. I loved it and enjoyed every lost drop in my pretty crystal flute. I’ve tried many different kinds of champagne since then. Some good. Some bad. Some during very special moments. And some, just because.
I have come to really LOVE champagne. I am still drawn, like that little girl in me, to its golden, sparkly bubbles and to the precious moments that it usually celebrates. It was not what I expected, but still truly good and worth celebrating with.
I’ve been reflecting on my life a lot lately, with my mother, my friends, my husband and just to myself. The stage that we’ve been going through the last few years has been tough and I’ve often find myself wondering or even saying out loud, “Is this my life now? Because this is not what I expected.” I don’t mean to sound ungrateful at all, but things have just gone very different from how I imagined and being an adult is about a million times harder than I thought. Being a parent is about eleven billion times harder than I expected. There are days where I am downright disappointed. There are days when I am indifferent, even numb. And there are days that overflow with joy and wonderful times. That’s what life if like I suppose. Not what we expect, but still overwhelmingly beautiful and precious.
The key for me has been in never giving up, and pursing my joy every day. If I had given up on my dream of amazing champagne, I might never have found the very special brand that I got to sip during my wedding reception while sitting next to my Mr. I will never forget it. It made the disappointments along the way, literal and figurative, worth it. Though wrought with twists and turns I sometimes feel like I could deal without, I am utterly and truly in love with my life. And that is worth celebrating.