A shriveled up section fell off my kitchen Christmas cactus this past winter. It looked dead. Undaunted, my first-grade son scooped up the broken section, stuck it in a jelly jar of water and set it in a window. There it sat – week after week after week – looking sad and hopeless. My son watered it, but I didn’t see any visible change. Last week I was about to throw it away. But when I picked up the jar, I spotted two red nubs on the tip of a fat leaf. This plant – which looked lifeless – had grown roots! Thin white ventricles spread across the bottom of the glass, reaching for the water. As soon as I showed my delighted son, he filled the jar with soil and set it back in the window to grow.
Last week my husband, Dana, and I drove our nearly 17-year-old son to a four-day basketball camp in preparation for upcoming tryouts for the team at his top-choice college. Echoing in my ears, were my son’s words to me a couple of days before. “If I’m not good enough,” he said. “Everything I’ve worked for my whole life will be wasted.”