Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lemonade is Overrated

"When life gives you lemons, life gives you lemons."-me

When my eldest kid was still in a highchair, I once turned to see her face down on the highchair tray. At first I thought something was seriously wrong, then I noticed she was actually quite contentedly sucking on a lemon. Even now, she loves lemon. No sugar, just straight up.

On "30 Rock" it is funny how the boss is named "Liz Lemon." Everyone is always trying to fix her. Mostly she tells them to leave her alone, but usually only after some bizarre turns of events. No sugar, just straight up.

I read this book recently on the recommendation of a wise friend, called "Talk So Your Teens Will Listen and Listen so Your Teens Will Talk."It turns out, according to this book, that teens really hate sugary compliments without specifics. They also dislike bossiness, long monologues, dire predictions about their future (that is my personal specialty) and being powerless. Life is constantly handing those guys lemons, and we are all telling them how sweet it is. They. Dislike. This.

From the point of view of a marathoner, I just really want one sweet race. Or better, one sweet race after another. I want a PR. I want not to have a hamstring that feels like someone was punching it all day long. I also want to be in Runner's World Magazine and I would like very much to have hair that flows into a cute little pony tail instead of my crazed hair that always looks faintly Harry-Potterish in its lack of cooperation. I am forever indebted to the inventor of cute beanies.

From the point of view of a doctor, lemons might be any number of hideous diseases. Pour any amount of sugar in that bowl named disease, and it still causes dis-ease. But there are some things that respond well to sugar. Like gnarly wounds, for instance. Try it! Do not expect your insurance company to start footing the bill for your chocolate chip cookie dough however, even though they really should because everyone knows the healing power of chocolate chip cookies. Recently, an older colleague of mine was totally psyched that his shipment of maggots had come in. Yes, we have come a long way but some ancient things still really do work. Maggots (unlike lemonade) are underrated. A medicinal maggot by any other name is still a maggot.

From the point of view of a parent, I have been thinking a lot recently about my palliative care colleagues and what they offer to me and every one of us, really. This may sound dire, but what I mean is the concept of "bearing witness". Our children suffer now, they will suffer again, and ultimately no matter how hard we try to deny it, cajole them out of it, get angry at it, freak out about it or hire someone to fix it for us, they need to know that suffering is part of being a human, and that it is better done with someone you love by your side, bearing witness. It takes a fair amount of discipline and subversion of the inner panic to put your arms around your boy-man or girl-woman and say "wow, that is hard". Period. No offer of how to make it easier. No sugar, just straight up.


  1. I'd like to post my iPad painting of miss lemon tree. Look for it on Facebook.

  2. It is with great joy that I read of the healing powers of chocolate chip cookies. I only wish I knew of this years ago! As for supporting general health, though, I can recommend oatmeal raisin cookies,or, as they are better known (by me) fruit and fiber delivery systems. By the way, what sort of cookies does one need to be able to write interesting, entertaining and informative blog posts? I KNOW you have the secret...