When I was in my early 20’s I was struggling. I was dealing with so many different issues that I was overwhelmed. My Mother, bless her heart, sent me a card and it said…”Remember, When Life Hands You Lemons…Tuck ‘em Inside Your Bra! Couldn’t Hurt, Might Help!” Of course, it made me laugh. I hung it over my desk at work and looked at it every day. It was the strength I needed to work my way through the issues I was facing. There’s no doubt there are always issues facing us in our lives. They’re always different and change with what is happening at that time. The card my mother sent me followed me to several different jobs. It has multiple thumbtack holes from being moved from bulletin board to bulletin board. It is now yellowed instead of bright white, but the message is still the same, and the big signed Love, M is a reminder that my Mom always has my back. Now that I am a Stay-At-Home Mom the card hangs over my crafting desk at home.
Sometimes it feels like I get nothing but lemons. It feels like the situations I am dealt are so much more than I can manage. But no matter what has happened to date, somehow I have always found my way out to a brighter day. People say “you aren’t given more than you can handle”, I’m concerned the man upstairs doesn’t know who he is dealing with. I’m not trying to have a pity party, or wallow in the negatives, in fact it just the opposite. I’ve learned many times over that with these “lemons” there is always a blessing that follows. It may not always be easy to see what that is a first, but it is there.
I’ve always had my family for support. That is a no brainer for me, if I need something they are there. I am remarried and my husband’s family is just as supportive. I never had this kind of support in my first marriage. A lot of the “lemons” were left on my shoulders to manage alone. Now I have found my best husband and he says “I am stronger than I think”, he might be right, but I won’t tell him.
A challenging “lemon” for any parent is when your 15 year old daughter tells you she is pregnant. In my heart there was no other option than to help her through and be there for her and her baby. The blessing; my beautiful granddaughter is one of the smiles in my heart. She is funny, smart and a love bug. Her mother was the best teenage mother. Better than stereotypes would define. She finished high school, graduating on time with her class and obtained her CNA certificate as well. I’d have to say that “lemon” turned in to the cuddliest blessing that I reap the benefits from every day.
Some of my biggest “lemons” to tuck in my bra had to do with my both of my daughter’s eyes. My oldest daughter was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Atrophy, which is a progressive eye impairment where the Optic Nerves “waste” away, restricting vision in varying degrees, from mild to blindness. There is no answer on where a person will “end up” with their vision, so the uncertainty is a big “lemon” There are also no treatments, cures, surgeries or glasses that help this condition at this time. Her daughter, my oldest granddaughter, has been diagnosed as well, two “Lemons” to balance the bra. My youngest daughter was born with bilateral cataracts. An extremely scary “lemon” when you are passing your one month old over to an anesthesiologist to be put under for surgery. She has had a total of 5 eye surgeries and will never have better vision than she has now. Corrected with glasses her best vision is about 20/80. These two vision impairments have absolutely nothing to do with each other, no gene connection or link. The blessing that helps with these “lemons” is our amazing Ophthalmologist who has taken the best care of my girls for the last 17 years. He feels like part of our family at this point.
I had “lemons” that pertained to the death of two grandparents four days apart, with funerals on the same day. My Mom’s Mom and My Dad’s Dad. It is extremely hard as a teenager to comfort two parents that are grieving at the same time when you are grieving yourself. My brother and I did our best along with help from our extended family. The blessing was the tighter family bond we gained within our home and with our extended family.
A “lemon” occurred when my Mother at age 57 had a heart attack. A heart attack that could have been prevented with closer attention to her family history and simple testing being ordered. Watching her be brave going through her hospitalization was inspiring. Watching my Dad worry about her was frightening. The blessing from the “lemon” was that one of her older brothers who was having a physical a few days later mentioned to his doctor that his sister had just had a heart attack at a young age, his doctor acted immediately ordering testing for him. He required bypass surgery for the blockages in his heart, but recovered much quicker because he avoided the damage to his heart that my mother had, he could have fared much worse. Along with that, my Father, Brother and I have all had baseline testing done as well, to keep on top of our strong family history.
We have had cancer “lemons”, my paternal grandfather being diagnosed with melanoma that metastasized to his brain which was terminal. The blessing, my father getting a mole he was concerned about checked to find that he also had melanoma. It was caught early enough to be cured and 27 years out he is cancer free.
Now my life has changed. I am a stay-at-home Mom. I have four children, 2 grandchildren and the world’s most amazing husband. I have a beautiful home with plenty of space and life is the best it has ever been.
But…now there are different “lemons”…
These “lemons” are the struggles that go along with living off of one income, a choice we made that requires sacrifices, but the blessing is being available for our children. There are also the “lemons” of raising a blended family. It’s not what happens in our home. Our home is very happy, loving and family oriented. Plain and simple, the kids come first. It is always a “lemon” thrown at us like a baseball pitch clocked at 100 miles an hour. It often comes in the form of hectic schedules, excessive travel, Co-parenting that doesn’t always go smooth and one parent living out of the country. I find that the “lemons” are easier to handle when they are our own issue, but the “lemons” from outside often take deep breaths and patience. It is a must that the children will always come first for us, no matter what. The blessing is most definitely the love we get from our four amazing children. They are all amazing in their own ways and provide us with unlimited joy.
I could go on a list dozens more “lemons”, and I am sure most people could. However, the end result is what matters most. Now my bra should be a size ZZ with all the “lemons” I’ve tucked in them over the years, but I’ve learned that lemon squares are really yummy, and I think it’s time to bake again. I do know with my family’s support, and my Mom’s card of wisdom from years ago will help me through anything. My Blended Life surely makes me a Blessed Happy Wife, lemons squares and all.