From Beer to Maternity, for the under-forty crowd, is a play on the title of the movie "From Here to Eternity," the 1953 Oscar-winning WWII drama starring Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift based on the James Jones novel of the same name. The book, however, is nothing like the movie. It is a collection of mostly humor essays from my weekly newspaper column that spanned the 'growing up' to 'growing old(er)' period of my life. The essays touch on the ups and downs of dating, engagement, marriage, pregnancy, parenting, aging and menopause. It's been called a "chick book," although I find that amusing because pretty much everything that happens in it is connected in some way to a guy, but whatever. I read Sports Illustrated. I'm probably not your typical "chick."
For all the things From Beer to Maternity is about, though, and to borrow from Lance Armstrong, who is in the same sport as Greg LeMond, whose last name means "the world" and is spelled almost like my maiden name, it is not about the beer. I gave up the beer when I was 28 and realized that I'd essentially screwed up every aspect of my life available to be screwed up at the time. When my head cleared, I put some semblance of a life together, and carried on. My column began when the drama ended . . . making way, unbeknownst to me at the time, for new drama.
And that was a shocker, I don't mind saying. The fact that there is drama, that there are embarrassing situations, that I am capable of saying and doing stupid things sans alcohol was truly an eye-opener. My column began when I was living alone and sober for the first time in my life, and continued through dating and marrying late and having kids later. Anybody who has gone through these experiences or expects to go through them someday can read these essays and realize that it's okay to be imperfect. It's normal. You survive it.
And maybe you can learn from my experiences. Yes, men can be obtuse and women can be needy. Getting married after being single is a huge transition, particularly the realization that you can no longer date other people. Having babies hurts. All kids are different. Sometimes you won't want to make love to your husband for months at a time after kids. Hot flashes, with the right frame of mind, can be a source of humor. And sometimes it hurts to watch your kids grow up.
Many of the essays will make you laugh, some will make you cry, and some will just make you say, "Um, what?" I'm not claiming our experiences are identical. I am suggesting, though, that many of them are similar. And that maybe by reading about mine, you can be a little more forgiving of your own.
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