It was 3:30, it was 30 degrees and I just wanted the kids to get in the van so I could get home, and put my feet up before the dinner prep craziness began. From the depths of my mini-van came a request for pink lemonade from Alexa and her best friend Halle. We are famous among friends for our sparkling pink lemonade. I could feel my eyes rolling into the back of my skull as the words “sure sweetie” came out of my mouth. I knew this meant a trip to the grocery store and, if history were any kind of predictor (and it usually is), a lemonade stand.
When Jeff and I got married we discussed the things that were important to us. We both agreed we wanted our home to be a place that our children’s friend’s wanted to come to, and felt like part of the family. We also wanted to be a family that made great memories. It is because of these goals I knew I would say yes to the lemonade request, before I had a chance to say no.
It wasn’t about pink lemonade. It was about me weighing the larger questions in life. Did I want five minutes of rest or did I want to cultivate memories and encourage spontaneity more?
Is it inconvenient – yes. Is it often annoying – sure. Does it serve our end goal – absolutely.
After I had picked up the kids from school, arranged playdates, went to the grocery store, made an after school snack I was finally able to sit down with my journal and my chai latte. As if on cue… “Mom, can Halle and I set up the lemonade stand?” In my head I screamed, “NOOOOOO!!!!”
But – my chai would wait. It would need to be reheated, but it could be reheated. My journal would still be there waiting for my return to complete the sentence left unfinished. There were memories to be made, and they wouldn’t wait. So I got up, and decided right then and there to be a joyful helper.
And you know what, I had fun!
The lemonade stand was precious; complete with handmade signs, donations to charity and Drake bumping on a blue tooth speaker. It was a chance to meet some of our neighbors and to see the sweetness of humanity. One customer touched my heart. He was a young guy, about Austin’s age, with hand still black from a hard day’s work, and a $5 bill. He didn’t want the lemonade as much as he wanted to support these young girls and their charitable hearts. They were thrilled to have a customer and I was thrilled to see the moment that surely would have made his momma so proud. These are the moments I would have missed if I would have chosen my chai.
This is legacy building 101. Everyday, in small, tiny, and if we are being honest, often annoying, ways, we are creating the construct of “normal” for our children. We are writing love onto their hearts with our actions. These actions look different when they are born, and when they are 11 and even more so when they are 21. But they are love. Building the lemonade stand was an act of love for an 11 year old heart. Small. Simple. Pure.
And so it will go on.
This is my offering to my children, to the world around me, and to the next generation. Our home is a safe place to come, to be seen, to be loved. It is a place where you matter and a place where you are wanted, cherished, loved and never an inconvenience. How is that achieved? Cutting up apples and sandwiches for high tea, buying extra remote controls for the PS4, running to Walmart for pink lemonade and helping to build the most kick ass lemonade stand of all time. And capturing this present moment so we can journey back and touch this space and time again.
So when you are asked to do the annoying things, I pray that you will pause and ponder the larger question you are being asked.
And when it doesn’t fit into the box of what you want to DO,
but fills to overflowing the box of what you want to HAPPEN,
that you say YES
and that it gives you and your children a double blessing.