My mama has taught me an amazing life lesson. If life gives you lemons don't just make lemonade, make a spritzer, make a fancy hat, make it fun. It doesn't mean that we can't get down and out in our family it just means that if there is an opportunity to fancy up or fun up the sadness or the stress, you should do it.
My dad died two days before my birthday. The weekend after his funeral I met my family for a dinner. When I walked into the restaurant there was a room of people to celebrate me. So much joy and love and laughter at such a sad time. We needed it, and my sweet mama said, "You're dad would have hated to ruin your birthday." We told great stories about my dad all night long.
My last day of teaching I pondered getting fancy. I had kept a boa, a queen's crown, and a pair of funny glasses in my classroom for comic relief. My students were used to me in costume. I couldn't take another day of working and feeling despair. I talked to my friends, should I? Mixed opinions. I finally went to the committee, the ones whose opinions matter most. "Should mommy get fancy for her last day of teaching?" Both beasties' faces lit up and in unison they said, "Yeah!"
On went the bridesmaid dress. My son excitedly offered to zip it up and fasten the belt. I'm not a woman who goes to many fancy occassions so if you have a pretty dress why waste it in the closet?
When I got to work I steeled my shoulders and walked on campus like a queen at her conornation, except it was water day at my school. Pretending to be a queen ended up to be very fitting. It turned out that the Spanish teacher had planned a small celebration for me and the other teacher that was retiring. We were named the queens of Water Day! A tortuous ceremony where I had to pretend again, that oh, yeah it's my idea to leave this place. The other teacher and I were each given a handmade crown and a cape signed by all the teachers and students. One of my friends commented appropriately, where else, but our school could you get fired and receive a cape?
As the day went on we cycled through water activities and at some point I decided to fuck it. Not Don Corleone style. I didn't pull out the big guns, I just found the joy and literally dove right in. The students loved watching me run through sprinklers in queen's dress. They loved that I wore my crown and cape around at each stop ignoring the 97 degree weather. When we got to the Slip and Slide hill, the students and I knew what needed to happen. The queen stepped to the front of the line and she slipped and slided all the way down queen's dress and all, and then I dove face first sliding down and right into the mud at the end. It was a sweet, sweet moment and I laughed and laughed.
At the end of the day student's talked about their favorite part of the day. The consensus was that the queen on the Slip and Slide was the best part, and I had to agree. I needed a way to say good-bye to my babies without tears and regret. Queenpin's can't run their organizations like that. We've got to figure out a way to buck it up and make through.
Life has given me lemons right now, but I'm choosing to make them into a crown. Tonight I'll be fancying it up again in my muddy bridesmaids dress to go see the movie Bridesmaids. I may even buy some pajama jeans for my new life as an unemployed queen.