Some things are a perfect match; a perfect combination; meant to be together. Take for instance baseball, sunshine and Dodger Dogs… perfect! The trifecta of a summer evening! Christmas Eve, fresh snow and family gathered around the tree… perfect! When people and things are meant to be together, all feels right with the world.
Some things coming together are not so good. Hazy, hot and humid in the summer are the meteorological trifecta of misery. Some things coming together cause the perfect storm. A perfect storm is described as a confluence of events that drastically aggravates a situation. I love the contradiction of the words perfect and storm. Perfect signifies everything in its right place and storm signifies struggle and unrest.
This past month or so, I’ve come to the realization that my life embodies three factors that form a trifecta, and therefore are a recipe for the perfect storm. Let me explain.
Factor One of my Perfect Storm Trifecta: By profession I am an educator. I’ve spent the past 25 years of my life being in charge of other people’s children. In this role, I am in control and have often spent more time with children than their own parents in any given week. For the most part I’ve been respected and listened to. This career has either created or enhanced my need to be in control. It has also given me the ability to see kids in a way that is not clouded with emotion.
Factor Two of my Perfect Storm Trifecta: I have never given birth or adopted children of my own. There is not one being on this earth that can call me Mom in the literal sense. I’ll never know that level of love that goes so deep that I’d lay my life down for my child. I’ve often called it the “umbilical chord connection.” (For those of you that have adopted children, please don’t take offense to the term.) “Because you are mine, I’d go to the ends of the earth for you.” Nope… my track only goes so far and then the rational teacher mode kicks in and things just can’t be overlooked. Don’t forget – I’m in control!
Factor Three of my Perfect Storm Trifecta: I am a step parent. I am in a role that requires me to think and act like a parent, but they are not mine. One minute I’m a rock star and the next, I’m two cents waiting for change. At the end of the day, regardless of how things have gone, someone else is that special person. Push comes to shove, the loyalty is with their mom (or dad). No one replaces a mom or dad, and I’m certainly not trying to. As a step parent, second place is the highest spot I’ll attain, and some days not if even that.
Most likely a person caught in a literal perfect storm won’t survive. If I recall correctly, the boat and it’s crew in the movie never made it back home. In the height of the storm, they actually seemed to see this massive storm a a challenge of sorts and they were going to save themselves and their boat come hell or high water… literally! In the end, the storm won. At times I feel like the outlier in a set of numbers. I feel like the Little Red Hen of the seas! My job on the boat is one of care and feeding. I’m not a part of the original crew. At times I feel as if I’m a visitor on my own boat. My three perfect storm factors woven together put me in a place that is uneasy and unpredictable. Add them together and a storm is on the horizon.
As I ponder this storm that seems to be sucking me in lately, my human reaction has been to turn the boat around and head for calmer water. A few times I’ve been so frantic that I’ve contemplated jumping off the side of the boat. You see, the crew on my boat are hormonal teenagers and they don’t want to work very hard, especially when the sea is stormy. If they had their way, they’d head below deck and ride it out with TV, snacks and cell phones. The unfortunate part is that they would not make it out alive. I’m doing everything I know to keep our boat on top of the waves and keep our crew alive.
I’ve spent many hours on my knees with my Father. I’ve laughed, cried, begged, pleaded and just thrown my hands up in the air. Trying to figure out how to guide our boat through stormy waters and come out alive is the greatest challenge I’ve ever had before me. I’ve spent time whining about the boat and crew I’ve been assigned; wanting for the bigger boat and the more experienced crew. I’ve argued that the crew is not one I’ve chosen and rationalized that we would not be in this storm if they were my own. (I can hear you laughing out loud right now as you read this!) Whaaaa whaaaa….. whine whine…. sniffle sniffle….
As I contemplate my personal thoughts on the words perfect and storm, (perfect signifying everything in its right place and storm signifying struggle and unrest), I am gently reminded that while this journey is difficult at times, everything is right in its place and there will be struggle and unrest. Hmmmm… I believe we call this life. Thank goodness that I am not in control of this boat! I have a very experienced Captain, and unlike the movie, we will make it back to the harbor… safe and sound.