As I was writing one of the 80,000 thank you notes for wedding presents this past week (only 3 months late, it’s fine), I found myself writing these words about a nice bottle of wine:

“We are saving it for a special occasion!”

As soon as the ink left the pen, I regretted what I wrote. Obviously I didn’t change it because I didn’t want to waste an entire thank you card (I’m on a budget), but I wasn’t pleased. Sure, it seems like the nice thing to say instead of, “I plan on using it for a drinking game every time someone does a hip thrust on Dancing with the Stars,” but still. I deeply disagree with whole concept of saving something special for the future, and don’t want to endorse that philosophy– even through a little thank you note.

I asked my mom a lot of things during her last week of life, and one of those questions was, “What’s something you learned?”

Her answer: “Never save the good wine.”

Gosh, I miss her. Typing that answer just took my breath away as I realize how I become more and more like her with every passing day.

My mom explained that she wished she hadn’t saved her fancy wine, because she never got the chance to drink it. We often wait for the “right time” or a “special night” to celebrate, show appreciation, vocalize our feelings, use a gift card, drink the good wine, apply for our dream job, have a baby, travel, etc., when really– the best time is now.

Right now is a great time, because right now, we’re alive.

Clichés are often true, and none more than the fact that each day is a blessing. As fun as it is to celebrate a milestone or accomplishment, and as practical as it is to take circumstances into account before jumping into a new venture, we have to remember to take advantage of where we are in the present. The here and now is all the time we are guaranteed, so why treat it as though we’ll get a million more “here and nows”? Instead, we should view each existing moment as a special occasion that can never be replicated.

Aaron and I received the best wedding gifts. We were given so much stuff that makes our home feel homey, like a fancy toaster and fluffy bath towels. We were given so many beautiful memories from the wedding day itself, like a gorgeous frame holding our invitation and a beautiful canvas of our favorite wedding photo. We were even given superfluous things that make life way more fun, like mustache ice molds and personalized Christmas tree ornaments.

But one of our favorite gifts, if not THE favorite, was from my brother and sister-in-law, because it revolves around a constant celebration of life and our love. They gave us twelve bottles of champagne, each with a card that holds a piece of marriage advice. On every month anniversary during our first year of marriage, Aaron and I are supposed to share the bottle of champagne, read the card, and celebrate our love.

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I even have the bottles on display in our house…and refuse to take down our miniature Christmas tree.

Aaron’s work schedule takes him away for two months at a time, then he’s home for two months, then gone for two months, then home for two months…for the next three years. So this monthly champagne tradition is a little challenging. We drink the bottles on the 12th of each month that he is home (our anniversary is 12/12), then chug the two that we missed while he was gone during his first week back after each deployment. Basically, our drinking schedule looks like this:

Month 1: Gone

Month 2: Gone

Month 3: Chug 2, drink the 3rd as directed

Month 4: Drink as directed

REPEAT for 12 months.

Even though our celebrations cannot be equally spread across 30-31 day periods, Aaron and I absolutely love the concept behind this gift. We plan on using our other wine and restaurant gifts in the same manner– to celebrate our marriage on random nights together, instead of waiting for a promotion, a blog milestone, a birthday, or the invention of a printer that prints pizza.

My mom’s advice is something I will aim to remember throughout life, even when life threatens to sweep me up in the hustle and bustle of mundane– or even enjoyable– daily affairs. Thank goodness I’m married to someone who has done the following things to celebrate the little moments with me in the last week alone:

  • Drove 3 hours just to go to a famous brunch spot in DC
  • Made Cinnabons just for the heck of it on a Tuesday night
  • Ate at a famous fried chicken joint in Virginia Beach that I haven’t been to since I was 12 (he’d never been), just because he wanted our Thursday night to be fun and special

I sound like I’m getting really fat…and it might be true. But who cares, because Aaron and I are celebrating life as often as we can, and you better believe that we’ll never save the good wine.

Thank you so much to all of you who gave Aaron and me any sort of gift to help us start our life together, to Jim, Linds, Claire, Mal, Ross, Rachael, Nicole, Lena, Slong, and anyone else who gave us a nice bottle of something to drink in celebration, and to my mom, for always living through her words in my heart.

Salute!

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