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What Lemonade Actually Looks Like

When life hands you lemons…made lemonade.

We’ve all heard the expression. Even more, if your temper resembles mine, you’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to tell people what to do with those lemons exactly. Or where to put them.

That being said, we all know that life is messy. Things rarely go according to plan. The last week was a perfect example.

We had planned a family weekend over Easter to go to a rural area in Pennsylvania. My husband had been training for months to run his first marathon and he had found a nice one in this tiny little place in the Pocono Mountains. So we had planned a whole weekend around it, some much needed family time with our 8-year old son.

The first hiccup was that my husband needed to go on a trip to Asia shortly after and because of my presence at the Women in Youth Ministry Campference, he couldn’t delay the trip. So in a classic case of bad timing, he had to get on a plane to China the Monday after. Still, it seemed doable. Until we discovered that he couldn’t make the drive to the airport on time on Monday morning and needed to go straight from our family weekend to the airport and spend the night there. Still not a problem, were it not for the fact that it was easter weekend and the rental locations were closed…you know, rural area and all. So I would have to drop him off at the airport, we’d spend the night there and I’d drive back home with my son on Monday morning. Not ideal, but still doable.

And then on Friday evening, just as we had arrived at the hotel, our son got violently ill. We got little sleep that night as he kept tossing and turning and throwing up. Poor kid. Poor mom and dad too, because this was not what we had planned. Kiddo rallied, tough kid that he is, and we spent Saturday morning driving the marathon course so my husband got a sense of the incline and setting. We’d planned to do some sightseeing afterwards, but then the fever came. Instead, we spent the rest of the day in the hotel, playing board games and reading with a very sick boy.

Sunday arrived. No early Easter celebration for us. Instead, we packed a feverish kid in the car and drove to the marathon. My husband ran 26.2 miles and I took care of our son, who was brave and did his best to gather what little energy he had left. But after that, both my husband and son were done. Finished. We left for the airport, where I dropped my exhausted husband off and drove straight home. Yup, I spent about the whole day in the car that Sunday. And when I got home, kiddo’s fever had gone up again and so had the throat ache. The poor kid had strep. I gave him some meds, tucked him in bed, and spent the rest of the evening unpacking everything by myself.

Of course, he woke up a bunch of times that night and the two nights after. And he was home the three days after. Instead of getting much needed work done (I’m a writer and I had a bunch of deadlines for articles and posts I had to make), I took care of my son while my husband was in China.

The Easter weekend, the days my son was ill, it was nothing but a whole big bag of lemons. And I have to admit that I was feeling mighty sorry for myself for a while. But Monday afternoon, something clicked as a feverish kiddo snuggled close to me on the couch and with a sleepy voice said: “Mommy, I love it when you tell me stories.”

Lemonade. This is what it actually looks like: I got to spend six precious days with my son, taking care of him. We read books together and I told him stories. We built Star Wars Lego, including a space ship of his design. We watched movies, hung out, did a light saber fight (can you tell we’re both Star Wars fans?), came up with a plot for a new Star wars movie. He got to come with me to youth group Wednesday afternoon (I volunteer with YfC in an after school middle school club) and heard me teach on the Good Shepherd.

Above all: we talked (this is my kid after all; like me he’s a chatter-box!). We talked about how he takes after both me and his daddy and how he loves us both for different reasons. We talked about how his misses his dad whenever he’s traveling. We talked about how much he had looked forward to our trip and how disappointed he was that he’d gotten sick. We talked about Psalm 23 and how he loves it when I sing it to him at night. We talked about so many kids who don’t have a mom and dad to take care of them. We talked about my work with the teens and how important this is.

Yesterday evening, I tucked him in bed and told him he was ready to go to school again. He was excited, because he had missed his friends and he loves to learn. But when I kissed him good night, he hugged me tightly. “I didn’t like being sick mom, but I loved being home with you.”

And that is what lemonade looks like.

It’s not about what you do with the inevitable setbacks in life, big or small. It’s how you look at them and how much you allow these to shape your thoughts. This week was anything but a waste. No, I didn’t get much work done and I’ll be very busy in the next few days playing catchup. But I wouldn’t have missed the chance to connect with my son for the world.

Best. Lemonade. Ever.

[Image: Keith Syvinski, FreeImages cc]
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