Lemonade out of Lemons

The girls and I recently became hooked on a new TV show on NBC called This Is Us.  Although my kids can watch a 12 episode series in a weekend’s time, I don’t often have the inclination to sit that still that long.  But, there is something different about this show.

One storyline is set in the 70’s and 80’s and is about a family with three kids.  There is a parallel storyline set today that follows the children as grownups.

I am particularly drawn to two characters in the series.  My first attraction is to the father of the three kids, Jack Pearson.  He has his flaws, but he is an incredible man.  He brings life and fun into the family.  He is wonderfully sensitive, crying multiple times in the very first show.  He just wants things to be OK for his kids and for his wife to be genuinely happy.  It is refreshing to watch how he invests in others.

There is also a 70-year-old man, Dr. Nathan Katowski the wife’s obstetrician, who is also a regular on the show.  He is a widower and sort of mentors Jack.

I want to see pieces of each of these men in me.

At one point, the young father and his wife lose a baby in delivery.  This is the advice that the seasoned Dr. Katowski gives to Jack:

I’d like to think that one day you’ll be an old man like me, talking a younger man’s ear off explaining to him how you took the sourest lemon life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade. 

I think when you go through tough times, folks are more prone to sharing their setbacks with you.  Perhaps they feel that you can understand.

I’ve recently had acquaintances lose loved ones – children, parents, spouses.  I know of those who have lost their jobs.  I’ve spent time with a widower who has six children under the age of 12.  I am amazed at how many rediscover good out of really nasty situation.

If for no other reason, as a young widower, I was propelled to drive forward for my kids’ sakes.  I couldn’t bear for them to live in a house with a father who was paralyzed by grief.  In the end, I was the one who benefited.  I found happy.

I hurt so bad seven years ago (this week marks the anniversary).  I was messed up.  And yet, today, I can’t imagine there are that many out there with more blessings than me.


Healing does not mean forgetting.  For me it is figuring out how to put grief in its appropriate place.

Writing makes you ponder things that perhaps you wouldn’t otherwise.  I think about my legacy often – what I want to be remembered for when I’m gone from this earth.  I think it’s important to me for my kids to look back and say, “Man did dad make some good lemonade.”  Like the pink kind with real slices of lemon floating on the top, in a really nice pitcher with grandma ice cubes.

How fortunate I am to be sipping again.

Leave a comment


  1. Mom

     /  February 22, 2017

    Yep, you’re making the good kind of lemonade right now and have been for years. A lot of people comment to me that you have done a really good job with your kids. I agree with them. They are happy, caring kids who strive to do their best at whatever they choose to do. I think you can start sipping some of that pink lemonade that you made right now. You deserve the happiness that you have now. Life is too short to live it at the bottom of a pit. Don’t waste one day of what’s left.

  2. Dave

     /  February 22, 2017


  3. Kim Rebecca Hasty

     /  February 22, 2017

    And how fortunate are we to have you among us sharing your wisdom.

  4. Molly Painter

     /  February 22, 2017

    THANK you for this beautifully authentic piece. I too love jack and the OB on “This is us” and am thankful you are sipping again!

  5. Peggy Cusick

     /  February 22, 2017

    Loved this one! That show is a favorite for all of my family. Great article you wrote! Keep them coming! Peggy

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Aunt Susan

     /  February 23, 2017

    re-read what your mom said, she said it all.

  7. Posts like these give me so much hope. As s young widow approaching the third anniversary of my husbands passing it’s really truly encouraging to read about someone who has found happiness again. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation to make lemonade.

  8. Kristen

     /  March 3, 2017

    Another great post (and I’m obsessed with This is Us–the guy that plays the OB always plays such a great part in anything I’ve seen him in). I think I relate a lot to your posts because I’ve been on the same side your girls are on. I lost my father at a very young age; my mother became a widow at age 42, with three children left to raise. She did a wonderful job, and always put us first–something that has always and will always stick with me. She wanted us to be happy, and make sure we had the things we needed, and she wanted to make sure that we didn’t forget about my father and the type of man that he was. She wanted his legacy to live on, and I think she’s succeeded fairly well in that respect. I am now faced with “raising” my mother, as she is now in her mid 70’s battling a slew of health problems, including dementia. We’ve had a tough week with her this week, and I needed to read this today–I need to remember to make lemonade out of the situations that feel so sour–I owe that to myself, and to my Mom. Thanks for this post.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  March 13, 2017

      I’m so sorry about your mother. I am thankful that you’re hanging in there with her. Sounds like you’re paying her back for the care she showed you. Hang in there.

  9. This is Us, has got to be one of the best shows. I wish my kids would watch it with me. Maybe I can get them to binge watch and catch up with me. Whenever i was down or am down, I often look up your blog to get me laughing out of whatever grief hole I have fallen into. This week I got 2 messages, one from someone I know that just reads my posts and one from a stronger on the blog. Both liked my writing and being open. YES! Then and though, on Friday, a father returned from serving overseas and he surprised his daughter in the cafeteria. It was heart touching and Anna lost it and cried because it was so emotional but it hit the grief button and she cried because she was so jealous. I’m so grateful now to be close so I could be home when she got home and hug her. (I am finding a way to work and be at home managing everything). and then omgosh church. but anyway thanks for helping me get back up and find my lemonade, but I always like to say, make margaritas. 🙂
    BTW- Andrea Johnson is now at my church and I saw she knew you so I told her I follow you. Then on our women’s retreat, I introduced her to Hunter Payne! Small world!

    • Danny Tanner

       /  March 26, 2017

      I like your take on margaritas! Even better than lemonade! We were in Asheville last summer and ran into Andrea. Small world indeed.


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