When we were kids there was nothing we looked forward to more than going to a family party. Being able to hang out with our cousins all night was the best. And if we got really lucky we would get to have a sleepover together at the end of the night.
When we were really little, I just remember that my mom and dad were very inclined to agree to anything as the night went on. But thought nothing much of it. I just thought it was awesome and I loved seeing them this way. And it wasn’t just my parents, it seemed to be all of my aunts and uncles as well.
As we got a little older, we started to put two and two together. We may not have fully understood it, but we knew there was somehow a correlation between their good moods and booze. And we learned to take full advantage.
The best would be when we’d get together and discuss who was drunker. Because that would be the person we would hit up first to request whatever it was we wanted. Sometimes that would backfire, though. For instance, if we hit up our dad, we might get the “go ask your mother” response. Yikes. This could get complicated because when we’d go to ask our mom she might ask, “well what did your father say”? So this is the point where we would lie and say he said it was fine. And then pray they were both so drunk that neither remembered.
I remember not really understanding what drunk was. Thankfully, my brother Juan was there to explain it all to me. One night, my mom was over-served. She was sleeping on the basement couch. I knew this was really weird, so I went and got Juan and told him our mom was acting funny. He informed me that she was drunk as a skunk. He proceeded to get the boombox and put it right next to her sleeping head. He turned the volume to the max and before he turned it on he said “watch this”. To my shock, my mom didn’t budge. She just slept away. And she would never even know about our little coming of age experiment.
My brother Juan is also the person who gave me my first beer and subsequent first hangover. He came home from a high school party one night and I was still up. He brought some beer home with him and offered me one. I thought this was so cool. Juan was my way older, way cooler, brother. I looked up to him. So the fact that he thought I could handle a brewski was awesome. Except I couldn’t handle it. I think I had four beers and spent the next day puking with the worst headache I had ever had. But then it went away and I was fine. And I couldn’t wait to do it again. I owe it all to Juan.
I can remember a time when we were pretty young and my mom chased Juan around the house with the bottle of dish soap. She was trying to squirt it into his mouth and it was so exciting to watch. My mom was laughing hysterically along with all of us. I can also recall the moment in time when I realized that she may have been hitting the sauce that night. It was quite the realization.
Now that I’m a mom, I hope to create such happy drunken memories for my kids. And lucky for them I already have. Even though they might not have realized it yet. When they come into my room early in the morning and ask, “why did you sleep in your clothes again last night”? I normally reply with a “mind your business and get me the aspirin”. I imagine them, one day, waking up in their clothes the next morning and having the realization that their mother was drunk once upon a time, too.
Nowadays, I love when we get together with our family and friends and our kids start to ask for a sleepover. It brings back such fond memories of my childhood. I wonder who they come to ask first? It makes my heart flood with emotion just thinking about it.