A Momma's P(h)light
Ahhhhhhh, holidays!! Cold frosty drink with some umbrella thingy on top, wide brim hat, warm sun, hot sand, cool water, great podcast to binge listen to…these are the images I conjure when fantasizing about going on holiday. Anyone with children knows this fantasy is a fool’s errand yet I fall victim to it all the same. I planned this trip months in advance with the naïveté of a 5 year old. My son will be this age by then, he’ll be that much older, able to do this and that. Just need to procure his passport and let the daydreaming begin.
As the weeks ticked away closer and closer to our departure date my blissful ignorance of how exhausting the trip would be dissolved, but I made up for it with obsessive notes and lists of all the things we would need to both get through the flights and trip in general. I meticulously packed each of my kids’ bags weeks in advance, and added additional items as they occurred to me. I hi-fived myself for how foolproof this was going to be; I thought of everything! Bring it on!…anyone reading this knows that in general, having these types of thoughts is precisely the moment when your plans get the old Oscars playout music. Enough bullshit, let’s get back to reality here.
Morning of the flight arrives. Everything is organized and packed to perfection and organized from least frequently needed items at the bottom of the bag to most frequently needed at the top of the bag – ridiculous, right? It’s a painfully early flight so all of the outfits were laid out the night before so that when wake up time came in the middle of the night it would be a seamless exercise. It was. Despite the fact that my 18 month old had a bad cold it went quite well. We all walk up to the check-in line, ready to get ourselves to some heat when there’s this weird delay as the attendant is looking over our paperwork and passports. I thought to myself silently – Please don’t tell me we came on the wrong day, or the flight is booked. ‘There’s a problem’ the attendant said….’What’s the problem?’ I asked in a tone that conveyed my panic? ‘I just got his passport so it’s it can’t be that.’….’No, his passport is fine…but yours is expired’.
THE FUCK???? For anyone who has seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off this is the very moment when you see Cameron begin to yell in a tone that one can only assume could be heard from the space station. Yes, that was my moment. My husband went into full-on crisis management mode while I became catatonic at the bottom of a swimming pool. How could this have happened? I obsessed about everything….wait, scratch that. I obsessed about everyONE, everyone except myself. I was so consumed making sure everyone else was going to get through this trip in one piece with a smile on their face that I didn’t even think to look after my own shit. After I gathered myself off of the floor I convinced my husband to get on that flight with my children and go to Florida without their mother. I also quickly scratched a note for customs that he had my consent to do so, I think it was legible, aside from the tears covering most of the words!
Now, would you believe it if I told you I still made it to Florida that day!!! Fucking crazy…but a mother separated from her babies is a mother on a mission. I drove to my office immediately, I filled out a new passport application, I dragged my best friends out of bed at the ungodliest of hours to sign as my guarantor’s and I busted ass down the highway for Toronto to beg and plead for a 1 hour passport. It was a trainwreck as evidenced by my passport photo….do you see that photo?? That is the look of defeat! That is the look of someone resembling something that got pulled out of a manhole. It’s also the look of someone determined to get to my family.
I learned some hard lessons that day – number 1, it’s a costly mistake. These emergency passports come at a pretty penny, let alone the rebooking fees. The more important lesson and I don’t know how many times moms need to be reminded of it is to put the damn oxygen mask on yourself for a second! Look after yourself so that you’re capable of being there for the people that need you the most.
That day goes down in history as one of the worst travel days of my life….until the flight home!