So you know that saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?” Well, this is not one of those stories. This is a story about getting lemons from life, and then getting a few more, and then realizing that you don’t like lemonade, but God is giving you lemons whether you like them or not. That is what this story is all about.
So just a little background.
Another Monday morning, the day after’s Mother’s Day. My child was already a little slow and taking forever, and unfocused, which then left me rushed and flustered like pretty much every other Monday on the planet. I dropped him off at school and went to work, decided to go through the drive through and get a ham egg and cheese sandwich and two jumbo sweet teas, because I just knew today, one wasn’t going to be enough (this was before I decided to give up sweet tea, which I have, for the most part…).
My first lemon gift.
This was the day I had to attend the funeral of a friend’s husband who died tragically and suddenly, so my mood wasn’t going to change anytime soon. My husband picked me up from work, with another jumbo sweet tea because he knows me and loves me, and we attended the funeral together. After the funeral, I went back to work and continued my day with my 3 jumbo sweet teas.
Getting my second lemon of the day.
After school let out, I get a phone call from my husband that my son had a bad day. This is nothing new, he is emotional and has no filter, which typically gets him into trouble. That day, when the teacher told him to do his strategies, a tool the teacher uses to teach the children to keep track of things as they are reading, an underline here, a circle there, nothing too crazy, my son decided he didn’t need the strategies, and wasn’t going to use them. And let’s be slightly honest in saying that this child is also gifted and probably doesn’t actually need the strategies, but he does need to listen to adults, which he struggles with on a daily basis. Well, the teacher was not very happy with that and told him that he needed to follow instructions and that he had to do what she said, which his response was “what happened to you, you used to be so nice?” You can only imagine that didn’t go over so well and he got recess taken away.
Then the third lemon came from the teacher.
The teacher informed my husband of this, and made the comment that “I would never allow my child to talk to me like that.” I felt ashamed, judged, and angry all at once. I don’t “allow” my child to talk to anyone like that. I am not there, I am not at school with him to be able to correct him in this environment. So along with everything else that is going through my head, this was not making me feel any better. I am being judged on my parenting skills, and she doesn’t even know how hard I try to be the best parent to my child. I sit at work wondering why people say things like that?
Following on my word that if he were disrespectful to his teacher again, I would take his games away, I did just that. Well, you can only guess how well that went over, about like nails on a chalkboard. I get home, and he is so excited to see me, and once he finds out his punishment, that went right out the window. No more excitement was coming my way. Meltdown ensued. This could be considered another lemon, but who is counting.
However, amid all this, I decided I was going to sign him up for Ninja Zone, a ninja warrior type class with parkour for him to start that very same evening. Connor was so excited to do it, and I was glad he was excited but reiterated that this was not an award, that if he was not respectful or kind to his teachers, he was going to be in even bigger trouble. This was his chance to prove himself.
The fourth and final lemon.
We arrive at the class, and he is doing great, he is following instructions, really trying hard to complete everything to the best of his ability and has a great attitude. He even said, “I’m loving this!” to me through the glass window. I was happy and relieved…until…. I could no longer see my son. He had disappeared from my view, and all I could hear was a faint whimper coming from somewhere in that classroom. The instructor came to the window and mouthed, “it’s your son, he hurt his toe.” Well “of course it is,” quickly came to my mind and the frustrations of the day came rushing back. I walked over to the door to the gym and open it, to see my son, hyperventilating, the teacher wrapping the whole foot in gauze, and blood all on the carpet. Well, ok, so he did hurt himself and was bleeding everywhere. They give me tape and gauze because they can’t take the liability of doing the first aid, make me sign a form that I am not going to sue them, and send me to the bathroom to clean up the bleeding wound on my child’s toe. I am halfway between crying and laughing and at the same time, trying to soothe my child and get him to calm down. We leave the class, 30 mins completed out of the hour, and head home with a bandaged toe. I tell my son that at this point in the day the only thing we can do is laugh at the situation and that things are just not meant to be perfect today, to which his reply was, “it is not funny, and I am not laughing.” Fine. “We will talk more about this when we get home,” was my response.
When we arrive home, both of us are calm, and we start to have the conversation about life and how sometimes things are not going to go the way we want them to, or how we expect them to happen. My son did not strive to have a bad day, and I did not attempt to be frustrated with the whole scenario, but that is what happened. I inform him that “sometimes life is going to give you lemons,” when he promptly responded through defeat and slightly tearful, “BUT I LOVE LEMONS.” I laughed as that is true and probably not the best analogy I could use in this situation but I am left without an alternative, and quickly point out that he likes lemonade better than lemons, trying to save myself and make a point at the same time.
Why I love when life gives me lemons.
Our life is not going to go to our plan, and we can’t always have rainbows and butterflies and all things happy all the time. Sometimes we are going to try hard and still fall flat on our face. The days are going to beat you up and leave you little hope of repair. But through all of it, you still have the ability to laugh and love God. Days like this remind me that ultimately, I am not in control, and when I try to be, God gently reminds me of the truth. That day, my focus was not on God, it was on myself, my emotions, my child, and how I can try and fix what is going on around me. My focus was strictly on the lemons. I do not like lemons as much as my child, but I am beginning to love the days where life gives them to me. They are a reminder of a God that is bigger than us. That even in these small moments of frustration, that I should put my trust in Him, instead of trying to do it on my own.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on the things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
This life and the things we see and do are not going to sustain us, the only thing that can sustain us forever is the love of our Heavenly Father.