Monday, June 25, 2012

Some time in the far distant past, some people got together and decided to make up a little saying to brighten the dark days of other people who were struggling with trials. (These are the otherwise ambiguous "They" to whom we attribute so many of our sayings.)  Their happy little phrase completed, They bounced on down to their sad friends and imparted their inspirational wisdom.

"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!" They said, probably with an obnoxious amount of pep in their voices. I don't know how the saying was received by the inspirees, but I do know two things about the inspirers.

a) They should not have been allowed to make up motivational phrases if They couldn't see the ridiculously wonderful face value of free lemons, and b) They obviously never came over to my house for lemon bars, hummus, fresh cherry compote, garden salsa, and about 80 other things I make with lemons all the time.  (Because They lived before I was born, I almost forgive them.)

The adage, as I've always understood it, says that when life gives us something bad, we should use it to make something good.  It makes sense on some level...except that I don't think lemons are bad.  I think they're wonderful, actually.  If life handed me lemons, I'd be jumping up and down and screaming, "Free lemons!"

For you lemon haters, it would be akin to someone telling you, "When life hands you chocolate, make chocolate cake!" while patting you on the back sympathetically. You'd look at that someone and think, Um...thanks for the suggestion, weirdo.  Now stop touching me and get away from my free chocolate.

I realize today as I consider all of this that the lemons in the saying aren't something bad that can be turned into a tart but sweet and refreshing blessing.  The lemons ARE the blessing, and from that blessing, we can get a lot more than just lemonade. (Seriously, you should try my hummus.)

Years ago when, after half a year of desperately hard work, it became clear that my first marriage was not going to be saved and my ex-husband announced that it was over for good, my therapist challenged me to write a list of "27 Reasons the Divorce is a Gift from God."  I was only 2 days into my separation, I was devastated, and I thought my therapist was out of his ever loving mind. I'm pretty sure I told him that.  But I made the list. (And it helped...eventually.)

Today, I think my therapist just understood lemons more than most.

So, here you have it. 27 Reasons Miriam's Cavernous Malformation is a Gift From God.  (Why 27? You know, I never did ask.)  This is a Miriam approved list, so if some of these seem morbid, just know she was giggling along with me as I wrote them.  Sometimes, when life hands you a brain lesion, it's easier to embrace slightly inappropriate humor, I guess.

1. How many people can say, "I survived brain surgery?" ("...and all I got was this lousy t-shirt")

2. If anything goes wrong during the surgery, she'll get better parking spaces for life!

3. Room service at Primary Children's Medical Center. Literally, pizza and milkshakes available all day, anytime she wants them.  Oh to the yeah.

4. Leg jolts. She'd never get that grant from the Ministry of Silly Walks without them.

5. It's not a tumah.

6. It's also not a partially absorbed evil twin who will come to life and try to kill her while simultaneously decomposing, only to ultimately be eaten by a flock of sparrows.  That would be okay, of course. It would just be rather anticlimactic.

7. Scones and pie.  Pie and scones.

8. The amount of radiation she's had already could lead to superpowers.  I vote for super stretchable legs so she can harvest the out of reach cherries in the backyard.
9. I don't think I ever knew how good people could be.

10. Meds that made Miriam angry reminded us to be grateful for how nice it is not to have an angry daughter anymore. (You wouldn't like her when she's angry...)

11. If we needed a reason to be glad we live in the future... (Other than our Wii.)

12. The family that prays together, prays together.  (I won't say stays together because they'll all grow up and leave eventually. Praying is like lemons. It's a blessing on its own. Sometimes, it takes a reason to get us praying again.)

13. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Except degenerative diseases...and lead poisoning. But this isn't either of those.

14. We would never be able to eat all the applesauce our apple tree is going to provide if Miriam didn't need to take meds twice a day.

15. You don't realize how infrequently you say "I love you" to your kids until you're faced with never getting to say it to one of them again.

16.  Hospital cafeteria dates with my Mirimo are the best.

17. The horseshoe shaped scar on her scalp will surely bring good luck.

18. Miriam says, "I get to be away from my annoying siblings for four whole days!"

19. Additionally...she gets free rein of the hospital room TV for four whole days.

20. Big science test she didn't study for? Fake a seizure! (This is so bad. Also, I can't believe she won't let me blame it on her.)

21. People offer to give you things.  For instance, a man in our church congregation offered to make Miriam a plastic dome she could use in place of her skull.  We're considering it...

22. When she's dating age, those MRI images are going to be way more embarrassing than naked baby pictures.

23. While the malformation is still in her head, she's less attractive to zombies.  (If the zombie apocalypse happens after August 7th, we'll get her an ax for her 14th birthday.)

24. If we get the neurosurgeon on board, he could do a little brainscaping, so she can be the first person in history with literal corners of her mind.

25. If the surgeon opens her up and finds an evil supervillain brain where a normal human brain should be, we'll be able to stop her before she takes over the world. (At the very least, we can get on her good side and earn spots as minions.)

26. It gives me the opening I need to tell everyone I meet that we do NOT only use 10% of our brains. (Please stop saying that. It's ridiculously untrue, and it makes you sound dumb.)

27.  And finally, when life hands you a cavernous malformation in your daughter's brain, and you realize life has really handed you lemons, you know for a fact that no matter what, life is good.