There is a time to wallow in disappointment and there is a time to act. I first do what needs to be done to fix the issue, to solve a problem as far as it depends on me, and then the reality hits me and I cry my eyes out.
We had already sent the checked luggage through and got our boarding passes when I got the notification that the flight got cancelled. I couldn’t believe it. So we went through the motions of going through security, in case it was a mistake. I knew many flights get cancelled these days everywhere around the world, but I didn’t anticipate it would happen on this day, to us.
As I was on fixed on finding a solution, the look of disappointment or confusion on my daughter’s face didn’t slow me down. There was still hope. I waited in line. People were finding options to get to there destinations though a neighboring country. That was not an option for us. We had rented a car that was waiting for us in Lyon in a particular time frame. It weighed on me as well. My friend had taken the week off to spend it with us. She is a very busy doctor, second in command in a highly regarded hospital. She was getting ready to drive to the airport to meet us there, when I told her the situations and to wait for us to actually board the plane.
After a couple of hours of waiting and searching and calling, my dad came back to the airport to pick us up. There was not feasible solution for us to go to france on that day. Not even the next day. Though this company, the next flight was in 4 days. By then, we would need to start preparing our return. Everyone else who actually needed to get home or they had less flexibility than us, they booked the few overpriced last minute few tickets to the destination or nearby. People were already sleeping on chairs in the airport. There was a huge group of French students who were frantic about getting home. The help we got at the airport was useless. At home after a sandwich and a breather, looking at our options, we made the decision to forgo this trip and rebook mom and dad for their connecting flight in Barcelona. They leave in two days. At this point, rebooking overpriced tickets without the guarantee that they are not going to be canceled, it feels foolish. Apparently the airline would eventually reimburse a traveler for the mandatory expenses incurred by the cancellation, but I was not ready too spend more money for maybe taking off or maybe cancelling it again.
At bedtime the girls prayed we could fly to france next day. It broke my heart. I had pictured them walking barefoot on the sandy stone along the beach, and sipping wine with Livia. I was looking forward to driving through old towns and exploring shady alleys cooling our hearts with ice cream. Having been there doesn’t help. I could picture all the fun places we would go together. I don’t know why I tied my heart to much to this trip. My desires wrapped me without a doubt to this trip together. I had held more lightly mom and dad’s visit (they having had to cancel their plans in the past due to covid). But not this supposedly short and easy flight to Livia.
After I got us the refund and rebooked mom and dad their trip to Barcelona, without additional costs, and the solving mode rescue adrenaline was not necessary anymore, the decision was final, I went upstairs took a shower and cried. Oh my, it has been my built up emotions and stress from the last few months. I cried and cried and the girls asked me if I’m sad. I told them I am. And that I was sorry this trip got canceled. I was sorry for mom and dad and my daughters more than I was sorry for my own experience.
The girls were much easier at bedtime. They had mercy on me. We prayed. Ivy said she will unpack the next day. And as I cried some more before falling asleep, Conrad trying to comfort me, expressed his own sadness about the change of plans. But he made me realize we need to be present and make the best of the time we do have left. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and do nothing and see no-one. Conrad went food shopping and cooked dinner that night. I was not able to focus on such domestic but esențial activities. He served us well and we wrapped a very difficult disappointing day smoothly.
Now two more days have passed. We rented some paddle boats yesterday and we went swimming today. I feel we had a new fresh start, refocused and present. We brought out games we hadn’t played and saw things and did more things we hadn’t done together yet. The girls are enjoying the attention and the company of the grandparents. And we go with the flow, adapting and learning to navigate life and disappointment. That next morning I woke up and I remembered. And it felt like a horrible breakup or a terrible diagnosis that I thought it was just a dream but it turned out to be reality. No more france with mom and dad this year. But conrad made us pancakes that morning and we all learned to brush off the bitter taste of loss and disappointment. I was sad and sorry for my friend who prepared for us. We lost some money with the car rental. The refund of the tickets takes 30 days to process.
May we learn from this. Even if it seems pointless today. It hurt. But we prevailed. At this point I wish a smooth cruising for mom and dad through the south of Europe and back home. Challenges come. Nobody is spared of hardship. May we teach our kids to navigate it all with dignity and courage and honesty.