If I were in the kitchen I could just ask my friend Sabrina from The Tomato Tart. She is an expert at exotic ingredients and would surely have an answer. If it were a cooking technique that I was unfamiliar with I could call Chef Joe from The Culinary Salon and he would certainly be able to give me techniques on how to prepare them. With their advice I would head off to my kitchen and most likely come up with something wonderful. If not, no harm done. I could try again and I would eventually get it right. The problem is, I am not in my kitchen. The ingredients life has thrown my way are not things I can experiment with and hope to get it right. This time I need to get it perfect because I only have one shot.
Joey and I have led a pretty charmed life. We have skillfully balanced what we have together along with our responsibilities to our families and so far it's worked. To be honest I have taken a fairly hands off approach to all of the family stuff. I took care of my mother from a distance and when she needed something I just sent it to her or hired someone to do it. She was far away; and, while she was with us, that seemed to work. The same goes for Joey's mom. He balanced time between her place and ours and it never really effected me. I guess you can say I had the best of both worlds. Joey and I had our little oasis in Castro and it was my job to keep our oasis flourishing. In all honesty, I had the easy part. It's been a joy to take care of the birds, cook meals and make sure that things ran smoothly here. I was the one that never left the oasis. It was Joey that came and went and dealt with reality. It's not that I didn't want to help, but my help came in making the occasional meal for his mom or maybe sending her cupcakes. All I really needed to do was make lemonade and everything seemed sweet.
Suddenly that has changed. Joey's mom went into the hospital and it quickly become apparent that we could no longer continue life as we had. It's not going be enough for me to make chicken adobo, cupcakes or even lemonade and send them along to Joey to give his mom. It's also not enough for me to sit in this oasis and think that everything will take care of itself. Joey needs my help and so does his mom.
So what do I do? Life has handed me a box of ingredients and I have no clue what they are or what do to with. If I were on the Food Network I would be chopped. I really don't know what to make of all this. What do I know about taking care of an elderly parent, let alone one I have kept distance from? Do I really want to redesign the current life that I have grown so comfortable with? Am I ready to give it up for the unknown? Do I really want to take on this responsibility when I just learned how to navigate my own life? The answer is yes. All I need to do is look at Joey to know that no matter what comes our way I want to be there with him. There is nothing too big that we can't take on together and there is nothing, I mean NOTHING, that is bigger than our love.
Life is not all that different than a kitchen. I got a box of ingredients I have no idea what do to with, but I still have people that will help me. I called my friend Cheryl from AgingPro.com and she is an expert at this. She guided me to just the right person to help us navigate the whole thing. For preparation I called Karolyn who always knows just how to give me the just techniques and support I always need. Both of them are there to help me put this all together and whip up something that is going to be wonderful. And it's not just them. We have a huge family of friends that are there and will happily support us.
I would be lying if I said that all this change was easy for me - for us. But you know what? Life would be pretty boring if all I made was lemonade. I need to make something different and it doesn't need to be perfect. All I need to do is my best because that is what life is all about. Life never gives you ingredients you can't deal with and it will all turn out in the end and as long as you try and it was be just as wonderful. So I guess it's true, you can always make lemonade.