You know, life is not perfect. I am sad tonight because I have been looking forward all
week month to seeing my daughter, Elizabeth, for the precious 5 days between her summer internship and her second year at college. I was to pick her up at BWI tonight at 9 but she called at 5 to say that Southwest Airlines had cancelled her flight – the last one of the evening.
So, here is my sweet girl at the airport with no flight, no hotel, and no car. She’s very grown up in so many ways, but you know, this is the kind of thing that can really make you come unglued. I asked her if she wanted to stay overnight at a hotel by the airport and take a morning flight. She did not. “I want to come home,” she said, fighting back the tears of frustration and disappointment.
She’s a very smart, competent young woman who makes decisions wisely, implements plans efficiently, and handles life well, but dealing with contingencies is tough – for all of us. I believe that one of the most important thing you learn in in life is how to handle the unexpected. That skill comes only from painful learning opportunities that we call experience. As parents, we hope to save our children from the pain, but we cannot begin to anticipate everything they will confront as the move through life. What we can do, is give them some resources and endow them with confidence that while life is not perfect, they can work it out in the end.
Elizabeth found that Amtrak has a night train into DC’s Union Station; she got over to Boston’s South Station and bought herself a train ticket. She’ll arrive by 7 a.m. and I’ll be waiting for her with Starbuck’s lattes and a couple of decadent pastries. Not what we planned, but the best of the available options. I’ll take it.