When I was young and love was new, I met the boy in Louisiana. The boy was job training there and had invited me down for the weekend. Of course I said “yes”. At some point during that brief stay, I made a profound statement that has haunted me ever since. “I will follow you anywhere, but I WILL NOT follow you here!”
When I was young and my life belonged only to me, it was a simple enough thing to say what I would not do and believe that I could order my life in such a way as to avoid going places or doing things that that did not appeal to me. However, once I became a wife and a mother, I began to understand that life was not so simple. Sometimes I would have to take the proverbial lemons in life and learn how to make lemonade!
Several years into our marriage, the boy sheepishly came home and told me of his new job and its new location. Louisiana. Not New Orleans, Cajun Country, Louisiana, but the west-central-middle-of-nowhere Louisiana made infamous in my profound statement. Now, I do not know if he knew with certainty that I would move with him, because we had just endured a very difficulty period in our marriage and had just begun mending fences, but after much moaning and groaning, pouting and complaining, and probably some stomping of my little foot, I did. I gathered my lemons.
Life dealt a second blow a few short months after we arrived, when Mark’s job called him away for over a year. The boy had moved me to a place of my loathing and had left me with two toddlers and a life of daily stress. I felt abandoned. Who had time to make lemonade? I sure didn’t!
Once he returned, life was a bit easier but still just as stagnant as when he was away. Then our family had the opportunity to move abroad and it was wonderful. We were traveling and growing together, seeing awesome sights and learning. Life had become an adventure. Fast forward a few years and a move back to the U.S. to the state of my birth and the home of my family, with an extra year attached while the boy worked on his second Master’s degree, and we were looking forward to our next great adventure. A new “exotic” location, perhaps Hawaii or Italy, Korea or Germany!
And then the boy came home and my exotic location became west-central-middle-of-nowhere Louisiana again. Hadn’t I closed that door when we last left? I mean shut it, locked it and thrown away the key? I had been there, done that and moved on. Yet, the door was WIDE OPEN and I was going to have to choose to walk through it. AGAIN! Needless to say, I moaned and groaned, pouted and complained and stomped my little foot. (In truth, I may not be completely finished.)
I was handed a second basket of lemons. So, now I have to decide what to do with them, live with the sour or make something sweet. In two months our family will be moving to Louisiana. This is our next big adventure, whether I like it or not. I can sulk in my little corner of the swamp or I can choose to travel and explore, live and learn, grow and flourish and make this the opportunity that I squandered the last time.
This is my do-over. My second chance. Something we all hope for in life, but seldom get. So join my family on its journey back and forward as we live life in Louisiana and make lemonade. As they say in the Crescent City: “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”