It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those days when you just need to either laugh or cry (or avoid choosing and do both). One of those days when you’ve got the anti-Midas touch and the Universe seems to have it in for you. When the most logical action would be to climb back in bed, pull the covers tight over your head and hide – but there’s a mountain of must-do’s to plow through instead. Yep, that was me on the day before The Epic Family Vacation.

Anyone who’s been in the clinic in the last month(s) has heard about the EFV: 20 family members (mostly my husband’s family, with my mom thrown in for good measure) setting sail for the week before Xmas (yes one of the busiest vacation times EVER) to celebrate my wonderful nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. What could go wrong with that? Nothing. Nothing went wrong with that. But the day before it was a doozy. Here’s the nutshell version:

  • My eyes popped open at 6 am, prompted by the mountain of must-do’s swirling in my mind
  • Flipped on the radio to find that a 24-hour weather warning had been issued for the next afternoon (‘travel day’) starting at 4pm (our flight was scheduled for 5)
  • Crisis averted (after a frantic hour) and our flights were rescheduled to 7 am instead of 5 pm
  • But wait – that means I lose almost an entire carefully structured departure day
  • Call mom with the joyous (ha!) news that she’ll have to sleep over at our house (if you call waking at 3 am sleeping) to allow all of us to get to the airport on time
  • Wait – it’s already 8:15 am on a school day – run everyone!!
  • Get back home and start chopping all non-essentials from the must-do list, commence buzzing through the house like a headless chicken…
  • Mid-morning – receive a text from my teenager informing me of a heretofore unheard of ‘extended absence’ form which required a meeting between student/parent/vice principal… gulp… ok, set it up for when school lets out
  • More headless chickening
  • 1 pm – my husband (who’s also headless chickening but in a more self-restrained way) had the blessed idea of regrouping. Why didn’t I, he proposed, put a pedicure back on my must-do list and use it as an opportunity to regroup for a busy afternoon. I’ll admit, I didn’t need much convincing
  • 1:30 pm – ahhh wonderful self-care. Just what I needed. Until my innocent technician uttered the fateful words, “Hey look, has anyone noticed what’s going on outside?”
  • Full-on snow globe winter-wonderland blizzard. Not predicted by the 6 am weatherman I might add!!!
  • 2:30 pm – no time to wait for my nails to dry, I’m out in the snow, in my flip-flops, stuck in non-moving traffic trying to do school pick-up and be on time for the meeting with the VP (which was, in fact, waved but I didn’t know that)
  • Cue a winter driving car accident! Yep, my first ever collision (everyone was fine except the cars). This is where the crying and the laughing came in as I couldn’t even give/get information as 3 pens and 2 cell phones succumbed to the blustery cold
  • Back home – now calls to the insurance company and a visit to the Collision Centre ascended to the top of the must-do list. Have you ever tried to do either of these post-unpredicted-blizzard? Not the most expedient processes
  • Anticipating that you’d rather be spared the rest of the evening’s antics, I’ll just wrap up by saying the day concluded at 1 am and the next one started just 2 hours later (and included an Uber driver who started our journey with a passenger half in and half out of the car and then seemed oblivious to my assertion that the airport was south rather than north of our house)

So why do I tell this ‘Woah-Is-Me’ tale? Because it’s not one. Or at least I no longer mean it to be. It’s a ‘What Was I Meant to Learn from This’ story. Every life story can be one or the other depending on your choice. What did I do to call-in such a preposterous cascade of mis-steps? (in all honesty, I got pretty fatalistic about how the day would unfold once it didn’t start ‘right’, changing my vibration I’m sure). When did it resolve? Startling as it is to admit; when I started laughing at the absurdity in the post-smash intersection (the slow drive to and from the reporting centre and the wait there was actually a pleasant-ish time for my husband and I to stop being ‘chicken-y’, we just sat and talked). And lastly, why was it so important for me to (over)share my story in those first few days? How many times did I willfully relive the itemized list of ‘ick’? Words are powerful things because each one is tied to an emotion. And re-feeling those emotions changed the chemistry my body was operating in every time I recalled them. Why would I do that to myself? Because it’s a social norm to tell a good story. Now that I’m aware, I’m committed to retelling the GOOD stories. Of finding the GOOD in every story.

We all have the ‘what did I do to deserve this?’ days. I encourage you to sincerely ask the question. What did you do? And how are you going to change it? Let’s tell GOOD stories – to ourselves and to each other – in 2017.

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