Friday, July 30, 2010

Spectacular Lemonade Stand

Kitty Foyle: There's a lot of living to do in this world. And if you're worthwhile, you get hurt.
Kitty Foyle (RKO, 1940)

It must have been one of those days on which all 3 lines of my biorhythm intersected.

It was epic.

My siblings, father, and I were gathered at my mother’s bedside, waiting to saying goodbye to a woman who had rarely ever had a cold and epitomized true grit better than John Wayne.

Then, my husband suddenly became ill, necessitating an immediate trip to the nearest major medical center. I zoomed home, arranging care for our 3 small children on the way, picked up my husband, and sped him across town to the hospital.

I stayed until he was admitted, what seemed like 97 tubes of blood were drawn, and the doctor examined him. When his doctor assured me that all was under control and it was safe to leave him in the hospital’s care, I rushed back across town to the hospice center.

Mom died.

Oh, and our children’s regular caregiver had emergency surgery.

All on the same day.

Leading up to this day, I’d worked a 70-hour week, and had been putting in long hours and hard effort in the weeks prior. It was one of those unfortunate times when, despite other stressors, it was quite clear that it would be unwise to anger the overlords.

No, this is not the start of a novel. It sounds too ridiculous to be convincing, anyway. But it’s true.

I’d like to say that this was a crazy anomaly, an unlucky coincidence. But this sort of thing has been going on for a while.

About 7 years, in fact.

Did I break a mirror? Could this have been the grand finale of a looking-glass curse?

I sure hope so.

I guess I was due for a series of unfortunate events, though. Until about 7 years ago, I led a charmed life. Seriously. It’s not that nothing bad ever happened. It did. But everything always worked out okay in the end and never really seemed all that bad in retrospect. All the little glitches were trivial compared to the tremendous number of things that went really, really well through my entire life.

I’ve been blessed with brains, common sense, and a functioning family. My parents emphasized good values, education, and work ethic. It was no life of abundance, but we always had what we needed and, maybe, a bit more. I got a great job, married a loving man, and, despite the usual road bumps and disappointments of marriage and career, had incredibly fun times, playing in a rock band, travelling, spending summer weekends on the beach with a gaggle of good friends in a trailer we shared with another couple, enjoying good food and drink with our posse of gourmets/gourmands, and generally having a blast. Then we settled down and had the 3 most fabulous kids in the world. Life was good.

Then all the stink pellets started hailing down on us. Hard. Really, really hard. And mercilessly. Really, really mercilessly.

(A friend dubbed it The Vortex of Suck. Look for the #VortexOfSuck hashtag on Twitter.)

And life is still good. Really good.

Okay, I’m not stupid. It would be considerably better without the stink pellets. But, as long as there is tremendous, lemony suckage that can’t be avoided, I guess I’ll do the best I can to make lemonade.

I should know how. I started early in the lemonade biz.

When I was a child, I never had money to go to the movies or buy the hottest Lip Smackers flavor like my friends from families that had fewer children and larger disposable incomes, so I became an entrepreneur (along with my best friend, Lesli): We had spectacular lemonade stands to which kids from the neighborhood flocked—not only did we make and sell elaborately styled lemonade treats, but also ran carnival-style games and other fun activities from our little sideways-toppled toy box that became the counter of the lemonade stand. I earned enough cash to support my juvenile whims, albeit with the sacrifice of a few lesser loved toys as game prizes. Lesson learned: topple the box, suck it up, and redefine the situation; you may wind up getting what you want.

My life has been one calamity after another for a long run, now. Even, so, there is always someone who makes me smile (you all know who you are, and I think you are awesome), something that’s worthwhile, something that truly matters, every single day. I just have to open my senses to discover it. Each day that I can love and be loved is a glorious day. Each day of life is a one-of-a-kind gift, no matter what it brings. It's all a matter of perspective.

Kitty Foyle: Boy or Girl?

Dr. Mark: Boy. Almost lost the little fella. (Looks dolefully around the poor apartment.) Mighta been better if he hadn't pulled through.

Kitty Foyle: Don't say that, Mark. It's always better to pull through.

Kitty Foyle (RKO, 1940)
Make lemonade spectacularly. You only live once.

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