Friday, July 13, 2012
Column: Just add water
A dance turns pity party around
There's an old adage that says something like this: When life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. I've always readily passed along this advice, but, recently, somehow had forgotten how to follow this recipe myself.
About a month ago, the excitement in my house rose to a new high as my kids hopped off that big yellow school bus and prepared to begin summer vacation. They looked forward to attending camps, staying up late by the campfire, riding roller coasters and taking a much-deserved break from the classroom.
I knew my mornings would be much easier to manage without school schedules, lunch money and backpacks. I also looked forward to cleaning my house with more attentiveness, organizing neglected closets and drawers and spending long lazy afternoons with my Kindle.
Then those simple summer plans began to fall apart.
It began one very hot afternoon when, after leaving my kids' doctor's office, my tire began making a flap-flap-flap sound.
As a pit of despair slowly rose from my stomach into my throat, I looked to the heavens and wondered, why me?
I pulled into a nearby service station to assess the damage. It wasn't long before a very nice man in a landscaping truck parked next to me, leaned out the window and offered his assistance. My husband was on his way, but it was very hot, and I figured the faster this got done, the better.
Fifteen minutes later, my car sported a new spare tire on its front right corner. I wished I had more than a thank you to offer to this fine gentleman. My husband arrived a few minutes later, and we discussed the cost of new tires. I know I should have been glad that I had received such prompt roadside assistance from a stranger, but that pit in my stomach returned.
Not long after, I woke up with a backache. I had spent the previous days moving furniture. I decided that I must finish the chores on my list and rest a little more that evening. Unfortunately, that wasn't the wisest choice, and my back continued to scream in pain the next morning, and the next.
Soon after my back started hurting, we lost our cable and Internet services for five days, thanks to a severe thunderstorm. I should have been glad that we didn't lose power, but my kids began arguing and complaining of constant boredom. I fell a little deeper into my pit of despair.
It was at this point that I reminded myself that life isn't always easy. I knew I should find a way to make lemonade out of these lemons but just wasn't feeling it. Maybe I wanted to be sad for just a little while longer. Maybe I had forgotten how bad things can be. Still, I felt immobile and incapable of turning my summer around.
Then, one stormy afternoon, my 15-year-old daughter, Emma, went outside and danced in the rain. I was furious.
"You're soaked, and you're going to make my house all wet," I scolded.
Emma laughed as she toweled off the rainwater and responded, "Don't you remember when we used to dance in the rain?"
I'll admit, I couldn't help but smile. And I did remember dancing in the rain with my kids when they were little, not so long ago.
And just like that, my summer veered back on course, and I remembered how to make lemonade.