This week I heard that an old friend from high school has a brain tumor. She’s 43 years old and has a whole family spilling with children, a husband, a dog, and horses. There’s also a career and friends and hobbies- you know, a life.
A whole life. And no one knows right now what it all means. The tumor was removed and they await a pathology report to see what that whole life will look like in the coming months.
We’ve only had a Facebook relationship in the recent years full of blue thumbs up for pictures and an occasional comment here or there, but it is enough because we are all enjoying very full lives.
Her life, their lives, have been turned upside down. Two weeks ago conversations revolved around shuttling children and dinner plans and small talk. Now therapy and doctors and progress fill the silences.
Another website has allowed us to keep up with her progress. The updates are short and informative and she’s smiling in every picture. Seriously, she looks fantastic…AFTER BRAIN SURGERY. Anyway, something her husband wrote the other morning got me thinking.
He simply told her that all they could do right now was keep making lemonade.
No long speeches, no quotes from Confucius or Oprah, just a simple statement.
Later that day, Coach and I went to a small group that we were invited to attend in the role of support. It’s a group of young married couples, and by young I mean fresh out of college and bursting with swollen baby bellies.
We are not them; we are only young-ish. While our bellies are swollen, we have only middle-age and a penchant for cheese to blame.
We don’t worry about our children sleeping through the night, though we make that our own personal goal every night, as lofty as it is.
We don’t feel guilt over not pureeing our own baby food, and we learned after a few years that the only people who really suffer damage from deviating from a schedule is us.
If we had known then what we know now about parenting babies and toddlers, we would have been ballin’ all over the parenting court. Not because we’re better people, but because there’s a lot to be said for experience and hindsight. And also, the baby equipment is better.
One couple came in with their brand-new two-week old son. Sister was ready for a night out among the living. We sat on the other side of the fireplace and listened to all of them talk about waistbands and whether she would ever see one again, nursing bras, sleep schedules, and rice cereal. They laughed a lot and the loneliness of parenting infants melted away.
I was overcome with gratefulness.
Not because we were past that stage, and not because the one we’re in is so much fun our heads are practically exploding with joy.
It’s because we kept making lemonade.
We keep making lemonade.
Life is hard, and I’m pretty sure based on my very scientific research that everyone has his/her share of hardship. Seasons of lemon-squeezing and seasons of sugar-adding.
But through grace and prayer and good old-fashioned grit, we’ve decided to keep making lemonade.
We rode home from that dinner and talked about coyotes and emus and hawks, because, well, it’s what we do. Marriage and parenting didn’t really come up, but we’ve gotten to a place where we hear the unspoken places just as well as the spoken ones.
We pulled into the driveway, walked in the house to a flurry of activity and dog hair, and we started to get ready for the week. Coach had left his phone at our host’s house and had to go back and get it, so he ran by the store to get apples and milk while he was out. He also set coyote traps with said host, because apparently boys never really grow up. And also, coyotes were eating all the ducks.
I took a bath.
Then I ironed his shirt for him because I am long-suffering and holy and very wifely. (This is where I hope you are also able to interpret the unspoken places, especially when they drip with sarcasm)
When he came home with apples and milk and Clorox 2 because I still haven’t learned to eat without spilling, he also had flowers. For me.
And it’s not because we are so romantic and sensual and together that we have finally whipped marriage into shape.
It’s simply because we keep making lemonade.