I’m currently taking a class at our local college, I guess because I’m old and still think I can learn new tricks! One of our first assignments was to give a 3–4-minute speech telling the class something about us. Man, how do I fit ANYTHING about myself in 3-4 minutes? Maybe these 18–20-year-olds wouldn’t have trouble doing that, but I’ve got a lot more life lived! I thought I would share what I came up with here…
I sat in the conference room, hot tears spilling down my cheeks when my attorney looked me in the eyes and said, “Katrina, you’re looking at the possibility of up to a year in jail.” All the air in the room left at that moment as if in a vacuum and I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. Anything he said after that was not discernable.
Lemons, I’ve been handed a lot of them in my life. I may argue I’ve probably been handed more than anyone else in this room, simply because I think I’ve been alive the longest in this room. One thing I’ve become good at is turning those lemons into lemonade. I’ve heard it said that your lemonade is going to suck unless you have sugar. So, what’s my sugar? Simply my refusal to accept sour lemonade and my ability to adjust my attitude so that my lemonade will be sweet.
I’ve adopted three boys. All of them from horrific, traumatic, childhoods. One of them is also severely intellectually disabled. I moved heaven and earth to try and give him a normal life, within the community, and a family. All of that ended in a nightmarish way with us having to relinquish him to a facility. Guilt-ridden and facing judgment from many, I again sat in a conference room, with hot tears streaming down my face as a social worker looked at me and said, “Noah is so lucky to have you.” “Me?! Why?! If I were all that great for him, why does he have to be here?!” Three months later I sat in the back of an auditorium, at a talent show the residents of this facility were putting on. I watched my son cheer his peers on, dance in the aisle, and then get up for his act where he sang, “How Great Is Our God.” Ah, there’s that lemonade! Again, I had tears streaming down my face.
I also have two biological children. One of them had life-threatening food allergies and had a sensory issue that kept her from eating solid food until she was over three years old. Years of therapy and traveling out of state for specialists became normal. After years of studies at the Children’s Hospital, her food allergies are still there, but no longer life-threatening. And those oral sensory issues, are pretty much completely gone. She will now eat nearly anything put in front of her as long as it doesn’t have her allergens of egg or peanut in it. Last year she got married and as the pickup truck drove off with my daughter and son-in-law sitting on the tailgate, again the tears came but man that lemonade was sweet.
My biological son is on the autism spectrum and things are difficult for him. It has been 19 years of HARD with him and he’s the only child I have left at home. But he is now working a full-time job and taking two classes out here at the college. I have a feeling I’ll soon be able to drink that lemonade when he steps out to be fully independent. And yes, there will probably be tears involved.
Oh, but what was that I was talking about at the beginning? Kind of left you hanging, didn’t I? Well, I had been charged with contempt of court after serving as a juror for a murder trial. When the whole ordeal was finally over, I reached out to the defendant from the trial to let her know I’d written a book about the story. Her response to me… “God has used you to preserve my life. No matter what happens, I’ll be thanking Him for you forever.” That murder defendant now teaches my son piano, from the walls of a prison. And as I listen from the neighboring room to her coach him through sheet music, through a computer monitor, I’m able to exhale, with the tears of course, and say, “There’s my lemonade.”