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Believe it or not, this is the picture of a travel disaster.

I’ve been thinking about this trip a lot lately – in part because it was almost exactly a year ago and in part because it now feels like the “tipping point” for one of my biggest lessons from the last year.

* * * * * * * * * *

It was a Friday morning in January of 2020 and my family and I were flying home from Florida. We were about 2.5 hours into the 3.5 hour flight when the captain came on over the loudspeaker. "Ladies & Gentlemen, I'm afraid we have some bad news. The snowstorm that was forecasted for this evening in Kansas City rolled in early and they've closed the airport. We've been instructed to fly back to Miami to return our Miami based flight crew home. Our apologies." So, we flew for about 5 hours total, only to end up exactly where we'd started that morning. And not one inch closer to home. 😣

Needless to say, this was NOT what I had planned.

What followed next was a familiar scene. A big line of outraged passengers lined up at the ticket counter for rebooking. Some a silently fuming, some a red faced and shouting, and some crying. We humans do NOT like it when our plans get changed. And I’m no exception.

I was feeling panicky. And weirdly guilty.

We had pulled Lillie out of school & spent a big chunk of our annual vacation budget – all in the first two weeks of the new year! My self-appointed “responsible adult” badge was already hanging by a thread and getting home on Friday to do laundry and catch up on household chores was an important part of keeping that thread intact for me.

OK. I’m pretty sure I can actually hear the universe laughing right now…

When we finally made it up to the counter, we found out that the next available flight home with three confirmed seats wasn’t until late Sunday night. So, we had a choice to make. We could spend the next two days at the airport, trying to get onto an earlier flight standby, or we could surrender and fly back super late Sunday night. Laundry be damned.

We chose surrender. And took the seats on the Sunday flight.

And this is where things got really interesting… and even a little magical.

As we were waiting for our luggage (which actually took FOREVER, so that part definitely less magical), I texted my family to let them know that weren’t going to make it home for nearly 3 more days. Ok. Ready for the more magical part, now? My sister-in-law replied back right away - - they had pushed back the return from their own FL trip and she & my nephews were actually still at her parents’ house in Boca Raton. “The guest house is open. You want to come here?”

Ummm… yes please!!

So, what started out as a travel disaster ended up being a beautiful “Vacation - Part 2” with family and food and just an immense amount of gratitude because that trip ended up being our one & only in 2020. (Yep, PLENTY of time at home to catch up on laundry later on that year! 😂) Anyway, the point of this story is not to imply that everyone needs to have extended family with guest quarters in Boca Raton (though, I do highly recommend 😆)

The point is that even when things are going allllll wrong, we do sometimes have a choice. We can struggle to hold onto how we think things “should have gone” or we can surrender to what is. And in that opening of surrender, magic can happen.

It turns out, this story was actually just the first of MANY times that I received this lesson in 2020 and it’s a lesson that I want to carry forward with me into the years to come.

So, I’m going to hang onto this pic for a while

as a reminder of:

the unexpected,

the choice,

the surrender,

the opportunity,

✨ and the magic. ✨

This piece of writing originally appeared in my Feb 1, 2021 newsletter.

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