Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Going With the Flow

Love you, Wendel Family!
While winging our way across the Atlantic, on our way to Mother England, I reflected on the whirlwind of the last three days that I still can’t process without the ensuing panic attack.  Not the fear of flying panic. Once I climb onboard, I realize I’ve given up all control so it’s easy for me to let go. My panic attacks come from too much control and responsibility; in short, I panic when I have too much to do.  Between packing up our temporary home on Fripp Island in preparation for the summer rentals (which included packing up our home school, our dog, and our love of the low country) and temporarily shelving Greg’s new business plans and my curriculum book ideas, we were eager to let someone else take the wheel and just sit back and enjoy the ride. 

As most travelers know, preparing for a trip overseas is an overwhelming venture.  As most home owners know, preparing your home for guests, much less paying guests, is enough to send wannabe Martha Stewarts into the fetal position.  Combining the two would normally have seemed an insurmountable task, but if this year has taught me anything, it’s that “All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phillipians 4:13) Though wanting to collapse, Greg and I had hatched a plan months ago of finishing our field trip year in the United Kingdom and we were determined to see it through, “Come hell or high water,” as my grandfather used to say.

So we, once again, packed up all our belongings.  I had piles and piles, which only a mother could possibly know their meaning: This pile goes to the UK, this pile- the basement, the storage closet, the Canton House, Florida, and Goodwill.  As I culled and delineated, I was living for the moment we would pull out of the driveway, being clairvoyant enough to know it was coming, but completely daunted by the prospects.

When we finally drove off the island at 8:25 AM, Tuesday morning, I had two questions running through my mind,:  Do I have everything? and How long do I need to talk to Greg while he is driving before I can fall asleep?  (For the past week,, I had averaged 3 hours sleep a night.  Not a good start for jet lag.)  By the time we dropped our beloved dog, Ginger at the Dempsey Farm, I felt the weight of preparation lift and the exhilaration of  the journey engulf my mood.  Like Jack Kerouac, I felt the thrill of luggage packed and was ready to go to London via… Tampa.

Being ever budget minded, I had searched the Internet for the best fares to the UK.  I varied my entry and exit points, but between the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics, tickets were at a premium.  It became apparent that airfare was going to break our budget.  Thinking of a bonus visit to my cousin Wendy’s home, I searched for airfares out of Tampa, FL and struck gold.  For a family of five, we could save $2000 flying out of Tampa rather than our hometown of Atlanta.  Taking a chance, I messaged Wendy on Facebook about our plans just moments before booking our flight.  She was family right?  Surely, she would take us in…

Cut to a lovely home in Semiole, FL that has (unknown to me) just sold after being on the market for seven months.  My cousin didn’t convey her mixed feelings (at least not to me…) of having to vacate a house the same week we asked to spend a one-night layover between Fripp and London.  Being the well-bred Southern girl, she messaged me back, “Come on down; We can’t wait to see y’all!”  (Between you and me, I think arriving on her doorstep at such a time may be the rudest thing I have done this year.)

Best Laid Plans... Again.
But arrive we did.  After a seven and a half hour drive through low country landscape and a classic Florida thunderstorm, we pulled into her driveway between a Packrat’s self storage container and a sold sign just as our power steering blew.  It was a miracle the family Truckster made it!  Without flinching, Greg and Wendy’s husband, Donny, determined the problem and the solution.  A year ago, we had lost our cool after breaking down on the way to Disney, but this year, we rolled with the punches. 

Comfy Cousins in the Condo

Relaxing later, we felt right at home sitting and talking among boxes filled to the brim and counters covered with dishes.  I apologized for our spontaneous (and uninvited) visit, but Wendy said that packing the house actually made it easier on her because she didn’t feel the need to clean or have the house “just right.”  Sometimes things being out of control can be good. Thanks to letting go and “thinking outside the box,” I finally reconnected with a cousin after years full of good intentions, but no follow-through.  And our kids got to know each other faster than two dogs in a park; however, no bottoms were sniffed (to the best of my knowledge.)  One of the lessons I have learned while moving around the USA was to let go of trying to control everything; going with the flow can open up endless possibilities. 

It didn’t take Wendy a year to learn this lesson; she had called to see if they could move in to their temporary rental condo early and received a resounding, yes!  You never know what is possible until you try…

Like spending a month on the other side of the Atlantic with your family.

1 comment:

  1. I ran across this article while doing a search for fear and insanity. Keep up the good work.

    Shannon Bobo


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