“I must know.” –Buttercup
“Get used to disappointment.” –Westley, from The Princess Bride
I have a bag of lemon drops in my “junk” drawer in the galley. These are no ordinary sweets; they are symbolic and sacred. We’ve all heard the proverb, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” If any of our children receives a hard knock or has an unpleasant task ahead and takes it with a good attitude, I hand out a lemon drop as a reminder that although we can’t always choose our circumstances, we can choose our response. Disappointment is part of life on planet earth. The sooner children learn to accept this and move on, the better. Flexibility is a trait that can be cultivated when plans change.
Today we were supposed to get on an airplane in Ft. Lauderdale and fly to Boston, and then drive to Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine for a week of snow fun. Our children have never seen real snow (the oldest were babies when it last snowed in Atlanta and don’t remember it), so this was to be a real treat—we were looking forward to skiing, skating, sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmen, snowball fights, snow angels, and hot cocoa in the lodge with snowy vistas out the window. Two days ago, one of our children came down with a stomach bug which is passing like wildfire through our family of seven, making a quick recovery impossible. Because these were reward tickets from Jay’s work travel, they were not easily re-booked. In short, we had to cancel our trip.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel sad and disappointed. Aside from the loss of our snow vacation, we were to stay with my best friend from college in Maine, and now I won’t get to see her and her family. We were planning to go see Old Ironsides (the U.S.S. Constitution), which is moored in Boston Harbor, and had done a mini-unit-study in preparation and now that’s for naught, too. Our illness is having a detrimental impact on my mother-in-law’s plans, as well. She had come to spend a quiet ten days here cat- and boat-sitting for us, and now she’s stuck here with a sick family, afraid to go home and expose Jay’s dad, a CPA in the throes of tax season, to what we have.
But after shedding my initial tears of disappointment, I reminded myself, and the children, that everything happens for a reason. We may not be privy to the reason, but we remain thankful in all circumstances. That’s part of our family code, based on the belief that God knows what’s best and can see things we can’t see. Remembering that helps us to let go of our expectations and look forward to what He has for us instead. I don’t yet know what it is, but it seems that we are to be here and not there for some reason. That, in part, is why I always say, “Lord willing” about any of our plans. I’m not being cynical, just realistic. If our sailing life has taught us anything, it is that you go when the weather is good, and you stay when it’s not. And weather, like other plans, can change very quickly, so you have to be alert and prepared for anything. That’s the adventure part of our life.
What adventure will this unexpected “lemon” bring us? How are we going to turn it into lemonade? I’ll keep you posted…