Lemonade

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You know the saying, “When life hands you lemons . . . ”  It’s a saying that was branded into every fiber of my body at a very young age; a side effect of having a mother who traveled the country as a motivational speaker.  Growing up, no setback was too high for me to overcome.  “No one can make you feel a certain way.  You choose how you allow others to impact you.”

It’s great advice, most of the time.  But sometimes . .  sometimes. . . life hands you lemons and they are sour and bitter and no amount of sugar can turn them into lemonade.

As someone who has been raised to always find the silver linings, this realization doesn’t sit well with me.  I constantly search for the good in any crappy situation, even if it takes years to discover it.

But what do you do when you are rendered helpless in situations that are completely out of your control?  Cancer. Car accidents. Infidelity. Violent crimes. Natural disasters. Infertility. PTSD. Abandonment. Mean people. Death.

As much as you try to focus on all of the good that you have to be thankful for in your life, sometimes, a terrible situation is just that and there’s no pot of gold to be found.

It’s a tough pill to swallow- this notion that it’s not going to get better.  That it’s not going to work out the way you thought it would.  And that this bad thing is not going to politely go away so you can drink your lemonade and move on with your life.

Instead, it becomes one of “the things we carry”.  Unable to place it in a box and set it on the top shelf of our closet, it is with us wherever we go, like a meddlesome pebble caught in our shoe.

If we focused on it all of the time, we literally would be rendered helpless.  So we trudge onward, painfully recognizing it when something triggers a reminder.

I used to believe my mother, that nothing was beyond our capacity to overcome.  But now, I realize that some things are not made to be good.  Like the bad spot on a banana, you can eat around it, but it’s not going to make it go away.  A bad spot is a bad spot is a bad spot.

And it’s good and healthy to call it what it is as opposed to forcing yourself to drink lemonade when you fucking hate lemonade.

It’s a lemon. It’s sour. And bitter. And sad.  And we carry them wherever we go.

 

Mother

Bone-tired.  So tired you can’t think clearly.  It’s been a long day.  You’ve been looking forward to getting the kids to bed so you can finally sit down and exhale or go to bed yourself.  But one of them just. won’t. go.

To add insult-to-injury, she skipped her nap and is overly-tired.  She won’t let your husband put her to bed.  She only wants you.  You, who has been with her for the last 12 hours.

You know what she needs to go to sleep but you resist because you have nothing else to give.

And yet, you are a mother.

So you dig deep, into the reserves.  Your tank is on empty, but just like your car, you know you can always push it a little further, to get there.

You hold her, rock her and lay her down in her bed.  She settles her cries almost immediately as you rub her back and sing that lullaby she loves.  You slow the song down, verse-by-verse, eventually removing your hand so that song is all that remains.

Then silence.

She’s still awake.  You are still present.  And that is all she needs.

To know that you are there, even when you are tired, with nothing left but your presence to give.  `

You dare not move your legs, tingling from sitting in that same position for so long, until her eyes get heavy.  Opening and closing, just enough to make sure of you.

You hear her quiet breathing, slowing to soft snores and you think,

I am a mother.

I always have enough for this.

Always.

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Danielle Ice Photography