It was late Sunday night while I was peacefully sleeping that I started having a nightmare that I could not find our Disneyland packet for our trip Wednesday. We were very excited about going. We decided to surprise daughter who had never been but had been asking us repeatedly about going for several years. Most all of her friends had been and I knew she was feeling left out. We just hadn’t had the resources to go, but God blessed us this past summer so I felt it was ok to use the money my father left us to take her. It made it feel even more special, like somehow he was part of it.
Anyway, I was very disturbed Monday morning about the dream. The packet with our tickets, hotel vouchers, etc. had come several weeks before. I remembered pulling it out and putting it someplace “safe” so that daughter would not find it but I wasn’t exactly sure where. I took daughter to school and came home and the search began. I checked my usual places, but it was nowhere to be found.
My next step was to post on Facebook that I was losing my mind, shared my saga and asked for prayer. I received a lot of responses from friends. Some offered prayer, others suggestions of places to look, while others put forth advice. “In the future do what I do, keep a note on your phone with that kind of info.” Followed by another who said “I agree… Or take a picture of where you hid it.” Well intended but not helpful in the moment. I felt so stupid.
I seemed to recall that I had hidden it in my closet which was a complete mess. So I started pulling everything out but they were not there. I cleaned out my closet, my dresser, my desk, and was headed to the linen closet not really believing it was there but no idea where else to look. It was midnight and the only thing I had succeeded in finding was the Disney packet from when we took stepdaughter eight years before.
I decided to call it a day. I fell into bed in a state of despair thinking how stupid I am, how I can’t remember anything anymore, knowing husband was completely frustrated with me, telling myself I can’t do anything right, and praying through tears that God would open up the recesses of the black hole I call my brain to reveal where I put them.
Tuesday morning came, daughter went to school and panic set in. We were supposed to leave the next day. Husband was staying focused on work, which is what I should have been doing for the past 2 days and not searching for something I should be able to put my hands on immediately. I started trying to console myself. If I couldn’t find them, at least daughter would not be disappointed. Husband chimed in that if we had told her then I would not have had to hide them. Another not so timely piece of advice.
The tears flowed, hysteria set in and I did the only practical thing I could think to do, I called my mother! I could barely talk through the gasps for breath between the deep sobs. She very firmly said “Barbara Elizabeth, calm down! Take a deep breath and calm down.” I am still amazed at how effective using the first and middle name followed by a command still is well into my adulthood.
I got some Kleenex, wiped my eyes and snotty nose and processed with her over the next step. She remarkably offered to repurchase the tickets if that was what needed to happen. I was overwhelmed by her generosity but knew I could not accept it. I then pulled myself together and called Disney travel to find out the options, which were not good.
I started praying something like “God you can do anything. Why won’t you let me find the tickets (in a rather angry voice)? Please God, you know how much this trip means to me.” As I was waiting on hold, I absentmindedly opened a file cabinet drawer that I had already searched several times. There was a box on top. I picked up the box rather quickly and the Disney packet flew out.
I was overwhelmed with emotion, gratitude and exhaustion. I cleaned up all my messes, hauled all the bags of stuff to give away out to my car and stuff that no one should keep, including me, away in the trash. The next 24 hours were a dead run taking Hannah to school, racing home to pack and then back to school to pick her up.
The shock and surprise on daughter’s face made it all worthwhile. She jumped and screamed and I think still didn’t believe it until we pulled in front of Disneyland by the hotel. We had an awesome time. Daughter was in a state that I can only describe as the closest thing to heaven on earth.
Now that we home and I have had a chance to reflect on it all, I thought I would share the wisdom I gleaned from the experience.
- I will not hide things from myself but in the event that I do need to hide something (i.e., tickets, Christmas gifts, etc.) I will take the very sage advice from friends and make notes in my phone, calendar and maybe even take pictures. Thank you Kathy and Michelle!
- I really don’t remember things as well as I used to but that is OK. It does not make me incapable or stupid. I just need to make adjustments in how I do things.
- I will stay on top of my checklists. They are of no use if you don’t actually do the things on them. Cleaning my closet, desk, dresser, etc. has been on my To Do list for months. Ok, if I am really honest, some of it has been on the list for years. The amount of stuff I had to give away or throw away was ridiculous. I will not be a hoarder. I need to follow my own advice from Sorting Through Dad’s Stuff.
- I will not jump at the chance to beat myself up and become trapped in lies of the enemy when I can’t remember or things don’t work out the way I planned.
- I will not walk in despair and panic, there is no need. God is faithful. He is in control, not me. Hallelujah! Even if the tickets had not materialized, I needed to trust God’s plan and not my own.
- For the record, Husband is not so bad. He did help me look for the packet after his unfortunate utterance and we had a good laugh on Friday when we both forgot our 10th wedding anniversary in the midst of Disney mania. Maybe we are losing it together! Plus, he is doing all the planning for our anniversary celebration weekend getaway. Gotta love it!
- I will remember that as a mom, using the first, middle and in my case with daughter, last name works amazingly well even into adulthood!
Does this ever happen to you?
Photo credit: The beautiful picture of the fall trees along the running stream was taken by Lisa Quaschnick.