Backstory: Julia had been begging me for months to check the expiration date of her passport. (It’s here at home; she’s away at college.) I never did, though. “Julia, trust me, it’s current! You just got
it updated a couple years ago.” (At least it felt that way to me.)
You see, she suffers from a severe case of “extreme wanderlust” (which her Dad and I fully support, as long as she gets the grades and contributes in some part monetarily). So she was exploring various Study Abroad programs for next year. And depending on the week, and her mood, and what her research revealed, she was going to either: Madrid, London, Florence, Rome, Greece, Lima or Buenos Aires. Tokyo, Hong Kong or Moscow were even in the running for a while there. Or, viagra she said, she wanted to go on another mission trip to Kenya…. or Haiti, or Guatamala, or Ecuador.
As it turns out, for various and sundry reasons, none of those far-away destinations will become a reality — at least for next year. But… she was invited to go with her boyfriend and his family to the Virgin Islands this summer. Matt and his family are wonderful, and Chuck and I are very excited for her. You go, Girl! Have fun!
Hammock, sun, sand and water of the Virgin Islands
(I’ve never taken a Screenwriting class, so bear with me here.)
Last Thursday morning:
Me: Good morning, Sweetie Girl!
Julia: Hi Momma!
Me: What’s up?
Julia: Will you or Dad send me my passport today? I’m so excited! When we go to the Virgin Islands, we’re going to go to Antiqua too, and Matt said I’ll definitely need a passport for that.
Me: Okay. No problem.
(Chuck was downstairs.)
Hey, will you pull Julia’s passport out and set it on the stairs? I want to get it in the mail to her today.
Me: I bet you’re getting excited! Should be a great trip.
Julia: Yeah, I am. The place we’re staying at is unnnnn-believable. You gotta check it out online. And Antiqua looks spectacular. Soooo pretty (wistfully said). Can’t wait to see it.
(Fun, light-hearted small talk occurs.)
Chuck: Gipp?! Gipp?!
(That’s what he calls me. Don’t ask. Don’t judge.)
Me: Yeah. Thanks. Just set it on the stairs.
Chuck: Gipp?! Umm….her passport expired May 12th. Of this year.
Me: WHAT?!!!! Are you kidding me?
(Back door shuts, the patriarch exits the house, as he knows a loud and contentious mother-daughter exchange is imminent. And, quite frankly, I bet he’s scared.)
Me: Oh, no, Julia.
Julia: Mom…what!? Is everything okay? What’s wrong?
Me: Your. passport. expired. three. weeks. ago.
Julia! Hello? Are you there?
Julia: Great. That’s just great, Mom.
Me: I am soooo sorry. I had no idea.
Julia: Yes, you did, MOM! (Tear-infested, loud, shaky voice now.)
I TOLD YOU TO CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE!
OH…MY…GOD! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. YOU’VE RUINED EVERYTHING, MOM!
(SLAM goes her end of the phone.)
(My ears start to ring, cold sweats cover my upper torso, my heart pounds, and I feel as if I’ve swallowed a door knob.)
After the hang-up (aka slam-down), I immediately Google “Is U.S. passport needed for entry into the Virgin Islands?” I needed to assure myself that I didn’t mess up the entire trip for her. Luckily Google told me no, that a U.S. passport was not needed. Wheeewwww. Some relief. Some respite.
I then go through the next few hours in a very-guilty-Mom haze, which (as all you Moms out there know) is a very unpleasant, sh*i%!y feeling. I eventually pull myself out of my trying-to-find-someone-else-to-blame-it-on-but-can’t! mode, and take her passport to Eric at the UPS Store to send to her ASAP. Now, I know it’s of absolutely zero value to her now, because she has no need for it, but it does make me feel better. (Selfish, I know.)
Here are the text messages that transpired between us. (My dialog is in green.)
Sweet, huh? Does it restore your faith in Happy Endings?
So here are the morals of this story:
1. Time flies even faster after age 50. (I seriously would have bet my life that her passport was renewed recently.)
2. Stay vigilant as to expiration dates of all family members’ passports.
3. One does need a passport for entry to Antiqua.
4. Be grateful that your kids are full of grace and goodness.
(Julia and Cassidy, I’m talking to you.)