Recently, I booked a special trip with my eight-year-old son, Jack. We were going to Cancun, Mexico to meet up with friends of mine and help on a service trip. We were spending three days helping to support a dad with three boys and rebuild their house and their lives.
We were so excited. Jack was excited to finally join me on some of my favorite work. And I was excited for Jack to meet some of the most inspiring people in my life and some of my favorite friends. For him to be in that energy was a dream come true for me.
I woke up at 5:00 a.m., bags packed, grabbed our passports and O! M! G!
My son’s passport was expired.
Worst moment ever.
Have you ever had one of those epic mom fails? Probably not as big as this one. This makes missing Zoe’s first recital because you got the day wrong look like peanuts. Or leaving the hockey equipment at home when you arrive at an away game look like a slight oversight. Totally forgivable.
But this. This was a fail of EPIC proportions.
At first, I was just going to stay home with him. Forget the trip altogether. How could I possibly go without him? This was planned for us, not just me. But I was bringing important equipment down for the experience. More people shouldn’t have to suffer from my fail.
As the reality of the situation hit me, I started to shut down. I went to the airport, found the nearest bathroom and wept. I asked myself:
Why is this happening? Did I make the right decision? How could I let this happen? Will he ever forgive me? Will my husband ever forgive me? How can I recover from this?
I wiped my tears, settled down on my flight and made a plan.
Here’s how I chose to recover:
1. Stay in the present moment. Thinking about what should have been or could have been was not healthy. I had to try and stay in the present moment.
2. Close your eyes and forgive. Beating myself up about it wouldn’t help anyone. It would only make me frustrated, upset and irritable.
3. Let it go and TRUST the Universe has a bigger plan. Elsa is a genius. When I let it go, I started to see why this was meant to be. As the days unfolded, I realized how much more I could do with Jack not there. It didn’t make up for the missed experience with him, but it did profoundly impact these boys’ lives in a much bigger way than I could have with Jack along.
4. Safeguard your happiness. When I first arrived, even with this plan, I was sulking. All I could do was look around and think about how much better it would be with Jack there. How much fun he would have. How it would impact him. I had to shake it off and do things to bring myself joy. A walk on the beach. Morning yoga. Laughing with friends. A margarita the size of my head. Whatever it takes. Focus on your happiness because it’s your JOB and your job only. No one else will.
5. Make a new plan. I talked with Jack and asked him, “What can I do to make this up to you?” We had an overnight in the city, and he got a hamster (ewwww, major sacrifice) and there was a visit to Chuck E. Cheese (even bigger sacrifice!!!). Jack forgave me. And we were excited to find another trip to go on together.
I hope you don’t ever have a mom fail of epic proportions, but if you do, follow these steps and you’ll hopefully get on the other side of it a little faster.
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