I am seeing my parents tomorrow. They live quite far away so we meet at a half way point and spend a few hours together. In June my Dad will celebrate his birthday. On 19th June it will be Father’s Day. Today I went shopping for cards and presents to mark both occasions so that I can give them to him tomorrow.
Drinking is the norm in my family. Most of my relatives drink. A few drink a bit too much. But not as much as me. Usually alcohol would feature in any gift I put together.
I have told my parents I have stopped drinking. I dropped to news into a telephone conversation “Oh by the way I stopped drinking at the end of March” I said breezily to my Mum. I waited for the response. In the past when I have announced my intention to moderate or stop drinking altogether my Mum has usually reminded me that a glass of red wine a day is good for me or drinking is normal and nothing to worry about – in fact not drinking would be more of a worry.
This time my Mum said she was pleased for me. She said I sounded happier than I have in a long time and that made her happy. She also said perhaps she needed to think about cutting down a bit. Her response was so different from what I had been anticipating when debating whether to say anything.
Back to my Dad. I was looking for a gift which did not involve alcohol. In the end I chose some ultra luxurious body wash and some very special chocolate. I am pleased with myself. It was much more personal than just grabbing a bottle of booze on my way round the supermarket. And it wasn’t hard.
The cards were a different matter altogether. Literally everywhere I looked I could see Father’s Day cards and birthday cards with images of beer, wine, glasses and corkscrews. Some were jumbled up with garden tools, boats, cars and aeroplanes but the overwhelming theme of these cards was drinking.
I took a look at the cards in the displays marked for women. Rather than beer and wine there were images of wine and cocktails. Time and time again references to “wine o’ clock”. Drinking everywhere.
I don’t think this is a new thing. I think I was oblivious to it before. I used to buy those cards and I thought they were great, perfect for this or that occasion. Today I bought an arty card which I know my Dad will like. He won’t even notice that neither his gifts or his cards feature alcohol. He will notice that I am happier and so is my Mum and he will be happier too. That must be a good thing.