When life gives you lemons, squeeze the #@%$ out of them!


By Lisa Sugarman

Adkdalksf wkjgfw swlgfjergjeg eeqkfkewo wkf slkfjwj efrfsdfkjdf!!!! Madjakdw cad d fjswjefw swjfsfjer fakwdw. Sdlfakj jad fkenvia, adj, adjad, adjf, nfpaqf!!!

That’s not a typo. That’s a visual representation of how fast my mind is racing right now. Truth is, I feel like I just ripped into a sleeve of Double Stuf Oreos and let all their crack-like properties loose in my cerebral lobe.

I’m crazy in the head because my kids flew down to Florida to visit their grandparents for the week.

A! WEEK! I know. We’ve won the lottery.

So my mind racing is not a product of nerves. It’s excitement. Sheer, raw excitement. Like the kind you felt when you turned 21 and you walked into your first bar and got served for the first time and it was legit. (Which, mom, by no means implies that I used a fake ID at any point prior to that.)

Even though this is the first time we’ve put our kids on a plane by themselves, I’m good. Like really, really good. I mean, they’re almost 17 and 14. If this were the 1800s, they’d both have their own kids by now. So that helps me keep a three-hour solo flight to West Palm Beach in perspective. Plus, they’ve both flown enough in their lives to know the drill in their sleep.

I grilled them both until they were cross-eyed, so they’re solid. Cross-body bags will be worn as such; wallets will be stowed at the bottom of their bags; only a moron would forget to apply their sunscreen; strangers will not be spoken to unless they’re famous or extremely good looking; luggage will NOT be left unattended; and all seat backs and tray tables will be returned to their upright positions upon descent. These little nuggets of travel truth have been burned into their brains, so in my opinion, they were ready.

How did this little Christmas miracle happen? Well, we can thank my parents and my in-laws. Who, by the way, I’ve never loved more than I do at this exact moment. God, I love you guys.

More importantly, though, what are Dave and I going to do with this little gift from heaven? Uh, seriously? The question isn’t, “What are we going to do,” the question is, “What aren’t we going to do?”

Growing up, we had this cute, little sign over the sink in our downstairs bathroom that said, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I never paid much attention to it when I was a kid, to be honest. But the second our parents told us they were sending for the girls for the week, that little sign flashed up in my mind like the ABC SuperSign electronic billboard in Times Square. Needless to say, we’re gonna squeeze the living hell out of those lemons this week. Gonna drain ‘em dry.

So that’s why my head is spinning so fast. Because I know we did all kinds of amazing stuff B.K. (Before Kids), but the problem is, it’s all rushing back into my head all at once, so my brain looks kind of like the inside of Filene’s Basement when they had their annual bridal gown sale. Utter chaos.

Realistically, I think I’ll probably need the first day or two just to decompress and re-adjust. I mean you can’t just shift gears from June Cleaver to Kim Kardashian overnight. That kind of an adjustment takes at least 24-36 hours. Then, once we’re in the eating-dinner-at-11:30 groove again, we can really hit the ground running.

FOB: Crank up a little Old Time Rock and Roll, throw on some tighty whities, and slide the dining room floor, Joel Goodsen style. And don’t pretend you wouldn’t do it if your kids were gone, too. You know you would.

Being temporarily kidless kind of has that kid-in-a-candy-store air. So much to do, so little time. I feel compelled to do stuff I haven’t done in ages, but the problem is, I’m just not sure I’m that girl anymore, now that I’m right in the thick of it.

I mean, I know we should probably find out what the hot clubs are and go there. Or have a kegger. Or borrow somebody’s Porsche and do donuts in the temple parking lot. But honestly, I’m kinda tired and I’ve been trying to finish the same book since July and this might be my only shot.

I know there have been literally thousands of amazing things I’ve wanted to do that have crossed my mind when I’m waiting in the pick-up line at the high school or standing in line at Crosby’s, but now that the decks are clear and we’ve got carte blanche, I just don’t think I’m up for it. And neither, frankly, is Dave.

We’re losers. And we know it. But between you and me, we both like it that way.

Yeah, we’ll probably go out to eat around 8:30 one night, if we can make it that late, just to prove to ourselves that we’ve still got game. And maybe we’ll grab dinner in the North End one night, just to make sure we get off the peninsula at least once. (Although we’ll probably end up calling Donna at Café Italia and reserving a high top because we’re too lazy to drive into the city.) Other than that, we’re both secretly thrilled to run ourselves down to the Driftwood every morning for brunch and then plant ourselves at Starbucks for a few hours catching up on reading. (Don’t tell my editor, Kris, but I’m almost always at least three weeks behind reading my Reporter. Sad irony there, I know.)

Beyond that, the reality of our big week alone will probably look a lot like this: sleep in until the dog wakes us up at 6:45, text the girls, go for a run, do some lighter-than-usual laundry, text the girls again, talk about dinner, run a few errands, call the girls, read a little, talk more about dinner, go crazy and watch some Boardwalk Empire in the afternoon, a little yoga, straighten up the girls’ rooms (sorry girls, I can’t let this golden opportunity go), take a walk, eat dinner, drink some wine, watch a few extra episodes of Big Bang Theory, call the girls to say goodnight, read another few pages before we fall asleep with our glasses on. Anything else is none of your damn business.

The irony is, it will be absolutely perfect, in spite of how lame it seems from the outside. Perfect for us anyway. Because as we move from stage to stage along this little journey we all take, our needs change in striking ways. We settle into these perfect little grooves of our life that are sometimes so different than the grooves we started in. But somehow they become the exact place we really want to be. It’s beautiful, really, how it all happens kind of organically.

So yes, of course I’m thrilled beyond words at the freedom and quiet we’ll have this week, but I’m sure I won’t make it to Wednesday before I’ll be ready for my kids to come home. Because the fact is, as much as there are times when I’d give anything to be alone with Dave on some tropical island in some little shack on stilts, at the end of the day, I love the craziness of my little life too much to want to be away from it for too long. And I’ll bet you’d be feeling the same way if you were in my shoes.

Rest assured, I’ll definitely be making plenty of lemonade this week, but I’ll be making it exactly the way I like it, simple and sweet.

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItisWhatitisColumn OR follow her blog at https://itiswhatitiscolumn.wordpress.com.


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