I’m not good in a crisis. I have never been good in a crisis. I’m the person you absolutely don’t want in charge when life hands you those situations where you have seconds to save a life. The good news is that I know this about myself and I am excellent at following directions from people that are good in a crisis.
It’s not that I don’t want to be calm, controlled and competent in a only hopecrisis. I have daydreams about being that person. When I run, my music is set to techno music and I imagine I’m saving a bus full of kids from an out of control bus, I’m taking control of an airplane that has just been hijacked, or I’m leaping onto a motorcycle in a crazy out of control chase. Every time I run, I save the world. My favorite books to read are always about heroes, underdogs that fight to the top in that last desperate second, or warriors that are the last remaining hope. “Help us Obi-Wan, you are our only hope.”
But I’m not that person. My fight or flight response kicks in and I never seem to get past the flight option. Mother nature shuts off my brain. The pressure cooker of the moment turns me into Chicken Little. The sky is falling!
I’m always so surprised when things go bad. Always. Sometimes it takes me an excessive amount of time to even understand exactly what is going on. It takes me time to wrap my brain around the fact that my immediate surroundings have taken a sharp turn for the worse. Disbelief can be a powerful enemy.
I have had only two moments in my life when I was able to respond immediately and aggressivly and both of those times I believed one of my children was in imminent danger. But that is the exception for me, not the rule.
CloverfieldIf I was a character in a book or a movie, I’d be the hysterical side-kick that stays alive until the very end of the book. I always thought the funny friend in Cloverfield best represented who I’d be in a movie. Not who I’d want to be, but who I’d actually be. I’d provide a bit of comic relief to offset the intensity of the hero, a few sarcastic commentaries and witty zingers. If I was lucky, I’d have a moment where I displayed intense bravery despite my cowardly tendencies. But my role isn’t the hero. It’s not even to be the hot chick. I’m the person running in circles while my hair is on fire.
My husband does not panic in a crisis. He doesn’t even falter. In fact, he usually does better in a crisis than he does in a normal situation. He always performs better in sports when it’s a big game against the rival team, when everything is on the line and it’s the state championships. His coach at the Naval Academy commented on this several times, fellow shipmates on the submarine have told me numerous stories and I can tell you two times when he used just his force of will to save our lives.
One of those times we were in his truck. He had bought a lift kit so his massive black Dodge truck was really tall and he had overly large tires. It was everything you would imagine a 20 year old man from Texas would purchase. Big and Bad. I had to do a little hop and then grab onto a handle to get into the beast. We were in Dallas, very high up in the air on one of those layered, spaghetti bowl overpasses were it is layer upon layer of exits getting you off a major highway. We were on the highest one right before it swerved to the left when the entire undercarriage of the car flew apart. If I remember correctly the axle broke. No brakes, very little control over steering and our lift kit was going to take us straight over the rails to our deaths as we couldn’t turn. The police on the scene kept telling him over and over that we should have died on the highway that night. You know it’s bad when the police get shaky.
But we didn’t die a horrible death. He didn’t panic. He didn’t have to pause to asses the situation. He just handled his business. Because that is what he does. Blake is excellent in a crisis situation.
Sometimes he has to handle my business for me. When those moments happen he looks upon the situation as an opportunity to begin a boot camp. Boot Camp Teach Reesie How Not To Freeze Up and Torture Her With Practical Lessons and Applications Until She Can Perform In Her Sleep.
Full metal JacketI never like those boot camps. He doesn’t approach it from a helpful husband standpoint. He approaches it like I just enlisted and it is Full Metal Jacket. This is my rifle, this is my gun.
Blake is a planner. He plans for worse case scenarios. He plans for them and he makes our entire family go over them. We have a plan for someone breaking into our home while we are there. We have variations based on if it’s day or night, if I’m the only one home or if Blake is home as well. I know the plan.
Today, I didn’t follow the plan. I didn’t even think of the plan. I couldn’t have told you my name in those brief moments this morning.
Blake had just left the house to take the older kids to school. I was at home with Landry and getting ready to leave for the gym. I always lock the back door and set the alarm. Always. Always. Today for some reason the back door was left unlocked and I forgot to set the alarm.
Blake is gone. Landry is in the kitchen near the door. I’m in the office and I can’t see Landry or the door from where I am at. I hear the door open and I hear footsteps come in. I know it’s not Blake and I know it’s not Landry.
No one should be coming in my door.
I didn’t follow the plan. I just jumped up and raced toward Landry with absolutely zero thought on what I was going to do if I turned the corner and someone wanting to hurt us was standing in my house. I have to admit I was very scared. Very scared.
Good thing it was the cleaning lady. She wouldn’t have liked the plan.