Baby blues

My boss went on maternity leave yesterday.

I think.

I thought she was going on maternity leave while I was on holidays, but she was still there when I got back. Like me, she is having trouble letting go.

I worked until just before the birth of the eldest and had only two months of maternity leave, then my ex took over primary caring duties.

I was embarrassingly relieved to go back to work, as taking care of babies terrified me. Trying to stop them crying filled me with panic. There was endless panic because babies cry A LOT.

We had a morning tea/baby shower for my boss yesterday and she had to work on her laptop the whole time because there was so much to sort out before she left.

I will miss her because – as the team noted – she has been very good at mothering us over the past year or so. She is incredibly experienced and knows what to do in just about every crisis. It’s quite remarkable. She will be gone for nine months, which is a little nerve-racking, as I usually bombard her with a gazillion questions each day.

It has also reinforced how unsettled I am about my transitional motherhood status as my kids enter adulthood, which is how I found myself giving excessive advice to someone yesterday.

I treated her to my “you never know when it will be the last time” speech. The last time they hold your hand, the last time they hug you too tightly when you say goodnight to them in bed, the last time you will read them a bedtime story, the last time you will help them build a sandcastle …

The poor woman looked a bit traumatised and promised to let her 10-year-old daughter hug her too tightly for a few extra minutes last night.

Like the youngest, her daughter is anaphylactic to nuts, so I also treated her to a first aid lecture on using EpiPens. She assured me she was very grateful for tips on making someone sit on their hands while you hold down their legs to avoid misadventure during the injection process.

We were at the most delicious dinner for Peter Lehmann Wines at Chiswick restaurant in Woollahra. Wow, the food and wine was sooooo goooooood.

We tasted six different Stonewell Shiraz vintages, going right back to the 1989, which won the Jimmy Watson trophy. It was only bottled in magnums and Dan Murphy’s describes it as: “Healthy brick-red in colour; a fragrant and enticing, spotlessly clean bouquet leads into a delicious palate; a medium-bodied wine at the peak of perfection, and outstanding for the vintage.”

Brand Manager Malcolm Stopp ran us through the wines from the 1989 to the 2017. He was highly entertaining and described the 1998 vintage as being “bigger than God’s underpants”.

Nigel Westblade, Chief Winemaker at Peter Lehmann Wines, was there too and had brought some grapes from the Barossa Valley with him, which were small and deliciously sweet.

After the tasting Matt Moran showed us around his veggie patch then joined us for the meal, which included the most divine dishes, ranging from roasted beetroot, to yellowfin tuna crudo, to king brown mushroom gnocchi to slow-cooked lamb shoulder with roasted pumpkin and mint sauce.

Peter Lehmann Wines unveiled a two-year partnership with Matt last month. The celebrity chef is renowned for championing the ‘paddock to plate’ ethos, which emphasises the importance of locally sourced, sustainable produce that has seasonality front of mind.

Similarly, Peter Lehmann was committed to quality and provenance. In the early years, when local grape growers were struggling to make ends meet, Peter Lehmann stepped up to create a wine that not only sourced local grapes but embodied the spirit of the local community. He also urged growers not to pull out their 100-year-old vines when times were tough.

Moran said: “I have always admired Peter Lehmann Wines and their commitment to creating exceptional wines that reflect the unique landscape of the Barossa Valley. As someone who is passionate about creating unforgettable dining experiences, I believe that wine plays an essential role in bringing people together and elevating any meal to a truly special occasion.”

It was definitely a special occasion at Chiswick. I reckon I might take DD there for his big birthday later this year.

Song of the day: UB40 “Red, red wine”

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