Once upon a time, in 1987, a couple went to Paris and bought some champagne. Two bottles, to be exact. Two bottles of fine champagne, purchased to be drunk, the first, on their first anniversary, and the second to be drunk, in Paris, on their 25th. That couple was the ex and me, and we carried it back, walking through the airport with the bottles clinking in my carryon bag (along with the two free bottles the flight attendant had given us on the plane).
Fast forward a year, and that first bottle was drunk at a picnic table at Myakka State Park, whilst eating our cake (yummy) and feeding some to the squirrels. The champagne was strictly for us, because OH MY was it the best I've ever had.
Many years passed, but the bottle remained. I was never sure how it would taste, given its travels, and most probably improper storage, as well as the time passing -- champagne does have a shelf life, after all. It just sat there, starting at me, through years of sobriety as the ex tried to maintain his, and even through the divorce, ironically, the year before our 25th. What to do, what to do............
I put a lot of thought into what to do with that champagne. We had discussed having it on December 21, 2012, since the world was supposed to end and all, but it was Jill's birthday, and I didn't want it to be a specific person's thing. It was ours. Seth also whined that he would only be 18, so he couldn't have any, to which I philosophically said "if it's the end of the world, who cares what you're drinking." But I just left it alone. The boys said to have it at Jill's wedding, but again, that is HER celebration, not quite what I was looking for.
And so it was that I decided to have it at our last gathering before everyone spreads to the four corners of the earth. We had to have it at Jim's, since he was still recovering from his knee surgery, so the kids came over for pizza and when we were done, I proposed a toast.
"Twenty six years ago, we bought this champagne at the beginning of an adventure that created our family, and although it's not exactly the same family as it was, you guys are all....."
Jill: "You're not going to cry, are you? Because I don't want you to cry."
Me (absolutely dry-eyed): "No. I'm fine."
Jill: "OK, I just wanted to be sure. Sorry."
Me: "...you guys are all beginning adventures of your own now, and ........"
Jill: "Did you plan this? I mean, did you memorize it?"
Jill: "Well, it's going very well."
Me: "....I want to say how proud I am of you, how I hope the best for you, and how very, very much I love you. Cheers!"
And with that, went 26 years of history. I did really well, and didn't get teary till after those goobs left. Teary doesn't count as crying, especially when it lasts less than 30 seconds, right?