One of the many things Shayna and I had (have?) in common is the love of playing video games. (Does she still play them?) We used to play for hours. I still play Clash Of Clans, an iPhone game we started playing together years ago.
Something a lot of video games have in common is at the end of a stage, there is a Boss level. The boss is a super sized version the villains you’ve faced during the game. The boss is seemingly impossible to beat when you look at him. Your avatar is usually tiny in comparison. The boss has more “hit points” (the amount of damage it takes to defeat him). He has impenetrable defenses. Typically, it’ll take several runs at the boss before you can take him down.
The thing about the boss is the boss levels really pump up your adrenaline. You have to be focused to defeat the boss. You have to develop new strategies, moves. You can’t just go straight at the boss and take him out. You’ve got to outwit, outplay and outlast the boss.
The key to a great boss level is the boss has to be something that is capable of being defeated, of course. An impossible to beat boss would be no fun. On the other hand, to get satisfaction out of beating the boss, he has to be hard to defeat, seemingly impossible at first. When I’m playing a boss level in a game and the boss goes down too easily it’s actually disappointing.
The girls and I played Mario Brothers together on the Wii many years ago. It took months to get past all of the levels, all of the bosses to get to the end to play the Super Boss. The final stage was nearly impossible. It took us days of trying over and over and over just to get to the end of the stage where we could face the boss. And, we were defeated. We tried again and again and again. Eventually, getting through the stage became pretty routine. We knew what obstacles were coming and learned how to get by them. But, that Super Boss was still there. Then, it happened. We defeated the Super Boss. Cheers and high fives all around because that Super Boss was so hard to defeat the victory was that much sweeter.
The transition of a child is boss level stuff. For us parents facing this, it’s the hardest challenge this life could offer. It’s big. It’s bad. It’s seemingly impossible. But, that’s what a boss level is supposed to be. Shayna and I can take this boss down. I know she’s right here with me.