I read once that that in the Chinese language, the term for “crisis” is represented by two symbols, one for danger, the other for opportunity. This is the message I want to give to dear Son, who feels haunted by crisis right now–crisis can be both danger and opportunity. This past weekend, it did seem like for him, in Roseanne Rosannadanna’s words, “it just goes to show you, it’s always something.” Although he enjoyed his time with us and loved getting back to fishing and being at the lake, life at his house 2,000 miles away was in a bit of chaos and he, necessarily, had to be present on the smartphone to help out.
Adulthood is hard, there’s no two ways about it and escaping into your childhood for a couple of days can certainly be comforting, but your current adult life is still there waiting for you. For Husband and I, the lake is our reward for years of hard work and for making it through the crises of grown-up life. Another reward is the ability to see more clearly how things do work themselves out. A huge crisis today later becomes, “Oh yeah, that was tough, but wow, we came through, didn’t we?” And all the mini-crises that seem to develop into one big pain in the ass don’t seem nearly so overwhelming in retrospect.
Although he’s very young, Son has become a master at crisis intervention in both his career and his personal life. He has a remarkable ability (that he didn’t inherit from me) to look at a knotty problem, take it apart, and solve it. It’s what makes him so valuable in his job and what will make him a great post-grad student. It’s the reason he’s an extraordinary husband and the reason he’ll eventually be a wonderful dad–just like his own dad.
So ultimately, crises for him do become opportunities…the broken garage door becomes an opportunity to learn how to fix a sprung hinge. The leaking plumbing is a chance to learn a new skill that will serve him as a homeowner. The week-long hassle with the airline shows him how well he stands up for his rights and what a good negotiator he is. Dealing with preparing his thesis proposal while at the same time being called for jury duty, and needing to be present at work and home becomes an opportunity to practice good time management.
I write about my kid a lot on this blog–mostly because he is my heart and when he’s struggling and overwhelmed, I ache. All I want is to spirit him away and take him back into the days when the only choice he had to make was whether to fish with night crawlers or bee moths. Sadly, I can’t do that and I shouldn’t do that. Perhaps the most I can do, the best I can do, is remind him often how capable he is, listen when he needs to vent, and always, always love him dearly.
So, my Son…it was amazing to spend time with you this past weekend. It warmed my mom heart to see you light up when you cast your line into the lake. I loved hearing all about the remarkable life you’ve created for yourself and the wondrous path that’s ahead for you. Take a deep breath and dive into your future–incredible things await!