I love lemonade especially when it's freshly squeezed (and from Chick-fil-A--I'm an Atlanta girl). We talk a lot about how when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade but we never really acknowledge that making lemonade can be difficult. You still have to muscle through and squeeze the lemons one by one, and although there are methods to simplify the process like using juicers or pressers, all require work. Once you've finished squeezing, you have to balance the amount of sugar and water and mix until it's just right. In theory, the end results could (or should) all be similar, but the approaches are very different.
The truth is, MAKING LEMONADE IS WORK and sometimes I just don't feel like working.
Being a military spouse requires a whole lot of lemonade making. We're talking gallons full. I think the methods of squeezing and the end result teach us a lot about expectation management. I've learned over the last few years that perspective and expectation management make everything about this life more palatable. With that in mind, here we go:
You will get lemons. By the basketful at times. It will seem like there's not enough squeezing in the world to turn around deployment orders, or orders to a dreaded duty station or a new assignment with long hours and lots of time apart. Still, START SQUEEZING. Just like it isn't over til it's over, you can't start if you never get started. Adjustment is a process.
Know your juicing method and the work that it requires. Manage expectations. Talk with your spouse about what expectations you each have for your relationship, division of responsibilities at home, social commitments and so on. Having these conversations upfront helps mitigate future disappointments.
Sweeten the mix. Take advantage of all of the moments you have together, no matter how few. Build stronger bonds within your village and give yourself a little more credit. Give your spouse credit when he/she makes an effort. Many sour moments are laced with sweetness, you just have to look for it.
Share the lemonade. Everyone can use a little encouragement and positivity.
Will this life always be easy? No, but when life--especially military life--gives you lemons, manage those expectations, start squeezing and make that lemonade.