Life will always have ups and downs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 7, 2012

I envy those who say they’re on an emotional roller coaster. While vocalizing sincere empathy, I refrain from saying, “That’s it? A roller coaster? I feel as though I’m stuck in the whole theme park!”

In addition to the emotional ascents then plummets of the roller coaster, do you ever feel like you’re in a bumper car? Me, too. As much as you think it would feel good to strike back, it won’t. Even on that silly amusement park ride, I feel guilty if I bump someone. While real life is rarely spent in one of those cars, it is lived around people, and some carelessly use words that hit and hurt. I use Psalm 141:3 as a prayer, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” I also try to heed what I once read, “When you throw dirt, your hands get dirty and you lose ground.”

Then there’s the Tilt-A-Whirl, which in my life translates as Tilt-Our-World. I would like to think my family is spontaneous and flexible, but who am I trying to fool? All I did was switch from red Solo cups to Styrofoam, and everyone had something to say.

“Well, this won’t last,” said one disgruntled family member.

“I guess you didn’t see the garage,” laughed my sister Kay. “She bought a box of 500! We’re stuck with them!”

Only my youngest child, Victoria, approved. “That’s the kind Karleigh’s mom buys. I like them.”

Later that night, Kay returned for ice cream. Ice cream she had bought to keep at my house. “I think I’ll put it in a Styrofoam cup tonight. We’ve got to use them.”

Geoff just laughed and said, “I think these will turn out OK.”

And, no. Disposable cups are not the only changes to which we’re adjusting. This summer began the season of firsts and lasts in our household. Victoria is entering her final year of high school, and we have had her last cheer camp, her last participation in cheerleader mini-camp and her last yearbook picture, an experience I may never be brave enough to write about. At the same time, we are just beginning with my granddaughter. Adeline’s first milestones: her first smile, sitter and Fourth of July have been documented. She may be able to roll over by now, but she’ll have to escape from our arms to prove it.

These firsts and lasts remind me of an experience on a carousel. It’s a gentler ride, with ups and downs as certain as the circle it travels. And as we go round and round, it’s always comforting to find that familiar face in the crowd, the parent, friend or sister who keeps your freezer filled with ice cream, smiling and waving in support.

I have no doubt we will meet the challenges of the future. We even survived Styrofoam cups!

Ronny may be reached at