It was Disney World, so what could possibly go wrong? I had visions of our youth group at the resort hotel with kids from all over the country uniting for a weekend of challenging speakers and park fun. What’s not to love? Since John went to New York with Maggie Lee on her school’s trip in October, I got to be a youth sponsor on the Faith in 3D Conference that MLK weekend.
Because our destination was sunny Florida, I only packed light jackets for us. Despite the fact that it was winter, ShreveVegas was a balmy 80 with 1300% humidity. The flight from Dallas to Orlando was routine enough but as I deplaned I could not help but feel like something was going down. That would be the temperature. Turns out it was not only a small world but a cold world after all. With suitcases collected, the actual adults reached into their bags for heavier jackets, while my mother guilt reached an all new high. It rose in my spirit quicker than Tinkerbell’s concluding firework shot across the Midnight Magic Kingdom sky.
We arrived at the Disney Resort and thankfully they had a gift shop full of Jackets and hats. I reached into my wallet for my debit card and to my horror realized that it was gone! What? Was it stolen? Left at the DFW Airport Cinnabon? Then it dawned on me: I organized my purse. The ticker tape receipt parade had gotten terrifically out of control so I organized then downsized to a smaller purse for travel. Alas, amid receipts of Hobby Lobby, Kroger, Starbucks and Target (the big four) my debit card must have been left. (passive voice) Except for the $100.00 cash that John gave me for incidentals, I had no access to money.
This was such a victoriously brilliant Mom moment for me. I explained to ML that I was a moron and that we had the $100.00 to live on for the next few days. Which is easy because food at Disney is so totally cheap. She did have her allowance saved but as the Mother I was supposed to be ready for any catastrophe not the source of the catastrophe. Even if it was a First-World one. I did bite the bullet and spend a third of our sustenance on a brown track jacket for my mini-me.
The Conference was great. There were engaging speakers, lots of emphasis on being the hands and feet of Christ in the world and fun break-out sessions. Maggie Lee met a new friend, Jessie, from North Carolina and exchanged email addresses. The weekend struck a great balance between spiritual challenge and time with The Mouse. My guilt was beginning to simmah down when I committed the fairy god mother of all blunders in my hasty attempt to help.
With only three hours left in the park, our small group gathered to discuss which rides we did not want to miss. The group determined that we would do one of the biggies: Space Mountain. But we would need our conference park tickets to get fast passes. Eager to help, I offered to run to get the passes for all of us while everyone made the most of their time left. I collected the passes and ran like the wind, Bullseye. Like Cinderella at 11:59 I was hauling.
Breathlessly I arrived at the fast-pass machine, fed all twelve of our passes and collected the golden tickets. I sprinted back to the pre-appointed spot and handed back the park tickets and fast passes. All eleven? What? I searched frantically in my micro-purse, sweeping the pockets both inside and out. Nothing. I checked my pockets repeatedly with the vigor of a Viking rowing. Nothing. I began hyperventilating, so ashamed that I had caused trouble when all I wanted to do was help.
The youth whose ticket I lost was sweet and her mom took their credentials to the info booth to get a replacement which I offered to do. Not sure why they didn’t take me up on that one. So the we all dispersed and I followed Sarah and Maggie Lee to be the purse holder. They boarded the ride and I called John. The tears flowed as I explained how badly I felt for my failure. I will never forget his his advice comprised of just two little words: “Grace yourself.”
“It is really ok honey, it is not that big a deal.” He soothed.
I protested, “But they all trusted ME with their Disney Tickets and now Kelley has to spend her time replacing a ticket that I lost. It’s nowhere. It must be on the ground, near the turkey leg stand or blowing around the parade. I’m so ashamed.”
Sensing my slight overreaction, he once more admonished me, “Grace yourself. It will all work out.” And it did. It was not the end of the world that I so meladramatically assumed it would be. I had not ruined anyone’s weekend like I was fearful I had done. Even now as I consider my shortcomings as a Mom, I relive the Fast Pass Debaucle of 2009.
I could have been more organized. When the kids started forging permission slips rather than taking the chance on my losing it, this was obvious. I could have valued the beauty of a completed load of laundry. I could have assembled the $3,000 worth of scrapbook supplies into actual scrapbooks rather than cramming the photos into random containers. I could have taken that Khan Academy trigonomatry course to help more with the kids’ 5th grade Math.
I mean why be The Pinterest Mom when you can be the Pinterest fail Mom? Way more of you reading this know the smell of Febreeze is no match for Taco Bell nacho cheese and know the panic of seeing four teenage boys bounding toward your home before you’ve showered. The struggle is real. And so are we. And in real life with the real constrains of time, energy and mental bandwidth something will occasionally fall through the cracks. At those moments, it behooves you to grace yourself.
Happy Mother’s Day,