This week, I have the privilege of sharing one of my favorite stories. My mom, Natasha, asked if I could pen one of her many I Made Lemonade moments.

If anyone has met my mother, you know that she is pretty much always smiling. She’s just always had this way of distancing herself from all the negative vibes. Although I didn’t know her as a child (obviously), I hear all about how happy she was.

My mom grew up in a very small town in California. She grew up in a home where the love, though existent, was buried under bitterness and sadness and surrounded by consequences of poor choices.

At a young age, she began subconsciously distancing herself from all the parts of her life that brought her down. She became very involved in school and with her friends. She started being curious about life and her purpose in it. Despite being surrounded by darkness, she was full of joy.

My mom lived a pretty average teenage life. She was a song-leader, played softball, got decent grades, and met a boy who gave her all the butterflies…

This boy, my dad, was every movie’s typical “sort-of” bad boy. He was enough of a rebel to attract all the “good” girls, but he was smart enough to keep up his grades and do well in athletics. It wasn’t until teenage years that they started their romance though they had lived in the same town most of their childhoods

Fast-forward through all the emotions and feelings that teenage puppy love brings, and you have my 18 year-old mother finding out she’s pregnant.

At this time, her life was already changing. She graduated high school a couple months before, had broken up with my dad, and was ready to move on to bigger and better things. She will be the first to admit to you that she really had no direction in her life. She had no idea how to start building a life of her own.

BUT now she was pregnant.

She chose at that moment to make lemonade out of her little growing lemon.

She chose not to see her life as one unraveling before her eyes. She chose to see this situation as a new beginning. She felt she now had purpose in life. She was going to be a mom. No matter what happened from then on out, she would always be a mom.

I asked my mom one time if she ever considered ending her pregnancy. She said she never really considered it. She was genuinely happy to be pregnant even though she knew it was going to be hard. (Even though she knew she might have to do it alone.) She said that sometimes she wonders how different her life would be now if she would have made a different decision. She even said, “Wow, IML wouldn’t exist if I wouldn’t have had you. Isn’t that crazy?”

My parents are still together now. They have a beautiful marriage with God at the center. Believe me, it has been a hot mess of a ride for them (and that’s a whole other story). For now, I like to think of the brave young girl my mom chose to be. All it took was her choosing to make lemonade and have joy instead of choosing to shut down.
Thank you, mom, for keeping me. Thank you for giving me the happiest life I could possibly have. Thank you for “living in the clouds” and choosing not to ever let darkness take over. Thank you for being annoyingly optimistic; and thank you for choosing to be optimistic over and over again even when the good doesn’t win. Thank you for making lemonade.