On the bright side of missing the boat

A few years ago, I learned that even the best laid plans can take an unexpected turn.

My nine-year-old son and I were to take a three-day trip to Disneyland and a four-day cruise around the Mexican Riviera with my brother, who worked on the ship.

My son knew nothing of the plans and I had such fun plotting with the rest of my family, who had all been on several cruises with my brother.

On trip day, with everything carefully hidden in the car, we started off for his school, as usual.

I stopped suddenly and said casually, “hey, let’s do something different today” and off we went to the airport, without him really understanding what was going on.

When our destination was announced on the plane, his reaction was everything a parent hopes for.

The trip was almost cancelled because of a dismal report card but pre-payment and a no-refund policy couldn’t be ignored so I got school work and we spent two or three hours every morning on it.

We had a blast in Disneyland for three days and then moved on to San Diego and the cruise ship.

We were shown around the ship while my brother secreted our suitcases in a cabin, unnoticed.

Gleefully, I sauntered to the Purser’s office to pay the fare.

When asked for our passports, I realized, with sinking heart, that neither of us had the document.

Not one person, in the several months of planning, had mentioned a passport! There we stood on the pier with luggage and stunned looks.

I was sobbing in disbelief and despair about such a lost opportunity when my wonderful, gentle, caring, young son put his arm around my shoulders and said in my ear, “It’s OK, Mom — let’s just pretend we’ve already had a great holiday (because we did, at Disneyland) and now we’re on another adventure.”

My heart just burst with love and pride — what a kid!

I still love to tell about our oddly wonderful holiday.

Colleen Crossley RN BSN is a registered nurse who has worked in human services for 40 years focusing on wellness and mental health.

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