Lemonade Stands…Reminders for my Soul!

Last Friday while I was sitting outside of my office waiting for a client, I received a special visit from my friend Karen and her daughter Anna. They were walking through the small artsy area around my office and walking up and down the canal eating ice cream. After talking to them for several minutes, Karen explained to me that Anna was going to have a lemonade stand on Saturday. I asked Anna several questions about the stand, but her shyness kept her gripped to her mother’s leg, kicking dirt and sand at her feet. Before they left, I reached into my car and grabbed a dollar bill and two, plastic stretchy bracelets, giving them to Anna. “I won’t get to come to your lemonade stand, but I hope this will get you started in making a profit,” I smiled. Karen made Anna thank me and the two walked off down the street.

It made me miss my mom a little bit and I guess that’s the tough thing about good incidents. They make us remember the good times which in result, can make us sad about past times or current losses. I’m not really sure what made me grab the money and bracelets in my car. Honestly, I almost thought against it, because I thought it might come across as strange, but my mom, who I guess I was missing in that moment, always taught me to live in the moment. If you wanna dance, dance. If you wanna sing, sing. Life, as precious as it may be, is way too short.

The next day I received an email from Karen. “Hi, I want to thank you for giving Anna the bracelets and dollar…hopefully we will have fun today with the lemonade stand! Anyway, thought I’d share a photo of Anna’s sign for the stand. It is kind of hard to read…hopefully you can make it out. After we left you Anna decided that the cost of the lemonade should be either 2 stretchy bracelets or 25 cents…very cute!! She is hoping most people pay, like you did, with bracelets!!

Instantly, I began crying, something I’ve been doing much too often lately, but what the hell, it’s better to feel something than nothing at all. I think I began crying because I missed lemonade stands, and calling friends to come over and play. Most of all, I missed taking things, such as lemonade stands, very, very seriously.

We are all too serious about the wrong things today. I wonder what would happen if my friend Tonya and I set up a Crystal Light stand right on the corner between the Speedway and the Dairy Queen. And she would do it too! We’d sell two cheese sandwiches on white bread, a sweet gerkin pickle and a tall glass of lemonade all for a $2 bill. If you don’t have a $2 bill. Get lost. Peanut butter cookies would be five for an old, used paperback mystery. Refills would be free, in exchange for a good joke. If you bring your dog, they’d get a nice milk bone, but only if they can do a trick or sit like proper ladies and gentleman. Awww…we would take it very seriously.

I remember back in the day working at the treatment center, I worked with this amazing woman, and friend, named Kathy. She would have me rolling in stitches coming up with jobs that, if she chose to ever leave being a counselor, she could very easily move into a new role. These new jobs would be things like snow shack manager, or the person who writes the things on the church signs like “Jesus doesn’t trust a sinner”. I would laugh all night long, yet she was very serious. I really think she could imagine a world where that would work out great for her. And she was probably right. I miss her.

The great thing about children, being such magical creatures, is that they make up their own rules. Just listen to them. A glass of lemonade for two stretchy bracelets, as if that is perfectly reasonable. My friend Karen and I were talking about Anna’s school uniform that she was wearing and Karen told me that when she was in Catholic high school, they had to wear plaid skirts, but they could wear any kind of shirt they wanted to wear. So the girls would wear striped or colorful shirts, almost never matching their skirts, and this was all perfectly fine, unless they went to the dentist, and then they seemed out of whack.

We need to go back to those days of making up our own rules; in our jobs, in our relationships, in our lives. Some of the most interesting people I know make up their own rules. I dare my clients to dream and dream big. We only have one life. Who says you can’t be Jacques Cousteau, or a fairy princess or a Moonlighting Detective. Sometimes, I’m all three between 12 and four on a hot, August afternoon. And I’m 37!

Life…has become too serious. Tonight, I almost bought a huge bottle of bubbles and sidewalk chalk. Not for my adorable neighbor girls, but for me, because I’ve always wanted to draw with that huge chalk and make peace signs and houses with tall flowers, and windows peering into other worlds, all on the pavement of my driveway. But I didn’t. And now I think I’ll go back and get it tomorrow. Because I need to dream bigger too and make up my own rules. Maybe just maybe, I’ll start charging clients ten dollar’s less, but they have to bring me baked goods. Hmmmm…I don’t think my doctor would like that idea very well.

See…there I go, being all serious! To hell with it! Brownies and snickerdoodles it is…because, as you know we’re on borrowed time as it is!

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4 thoughts on “Lemonade Stands…Reminders for my Soul!

  1. I just wanted to say how much I loved your post. My angel uncle used to say that we that we only have this life here and now, so live every day as if you meant it. We would stay up until 3 or 4 am playing war and eating fudge pops for dinner. We would go to the airport and find a destination we thought would be fun to visit and sit and act like we were going there too! The rest of the family thought he was nuts, but he had learned the secret to a happy life, if it doesn’t hurt anyone, or yourself, then do it. Dance in the rain, sing loudly and badly in the car, just live!

    Thank you for reminding me of his lessons.

  2. Wow. Deeply touching.

    Peter, this is one of the most empowering and inspiring posts I have ever read. While you made me cry from beginning to end, I don’t hate you for it. On the contrary, I love you for it, from one stranger to another. I have to thank you, yet again, for reminding me to keep my life in perspective and to take on the world with the eyes of a child. In fact, I am going to print this out and put it on my wall at work and on my fridge at home.

    Also, what really resonated with me was the part where you talk about the sweet things in life sometimes remind us of the bitter things in life, such as losing a friend or loved one. Something as simple as a mother and child walking through a courtyard can be a bitter-sweet vision. Some of my favorite things still make me sad because the memories remind me of the loss. The memories are wonderful, but the loss hurts. What’s really important is making new memories and living life like every moment could be your last. It all sounds so cliche, but it’s true and much harder to remember and employ every day.

    Thank you for your thoughts and feelings. Your words are healing.

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