When Life Gives You Lemons

I’ve always loved that quote, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I don’t know why it’s one of my favorite quotes.  I think it has to do with the fact that I grew up poor and my Momma could make a meal out of anything.  I mean anything.  Have you ever had a taco salad with Doritos and French Dressing?  Yum.  

I was nine years old when my parents split up.  That was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn…responsibility.  I had to be responsible for the management of my household while my mother worked swing shifts in the military.  She cooked meals and left instructions for me on how to warm them up in the oven and feed my siblings.  She was serving our country and was serving dinner.  The roles had shifted in my family and I had to step up to the plate and learn responsibility.  But, I didn’t want to.  

I was nine and while I understood that there was no one but me to do it, I wanted to be a kid.  I never told my mom.  I did what any well behaved child with a crazy black momma would do.  I stepped up to the plate.  I became responsible.  I picked my sister up from school, walked her home and picked up my brother from the babysitter on my way in the house.  I warmed up dinner while helping my sister with her homework and playing with my little brother.  He was one.  I fed the kids, bathed them and put them to bed.  I sat down and did my homework, cleaned the kitchen, bathed and went to bed. I did this for a little less than three years until my mother decided to not re-enlist.  We relocated from Texas to Maryland and my life never was the same.

Life had given me lemons and I had to make lemonade.  I had to go to a new school, meet new people in a new state where I knew nothing about.  I hadn’t visited Maryland.  What is this state like?  I hated it.  I didn’t like change.  I wanted to stay in my house in Texas with my friends and make it work.  My mom wanted more.  More time with us and more opportunities for us.  But, I couldn’t see this.  

Of all of the things that happened in my past I realized that this statement about making lemonade out of lemons is my theme.  I’ve learned how to start over with nothing.  I’ve learned that life is not fair, but you keep pushing forward.  I’ve learned that the only shame one should ever feel is if they stop trying to make a better life for their family.  That’s what my mom did. She made a way out of a no way and when there was no money, she made miracles.  She was in God’s favor and he continually blessed us. 

The most important lesson I learned came from my momma:  She said as a parent you wish that you could wipe every tear that falls from your child’s face.  But, when I can’t I need you to go to God in prayer.  He will fix it.  She was right.  So, when life gives me lemonade, this is what I do now: