Original Title: When we’ve failed our kids
Generally I think I’m a pretty good dad. I love my wife and my kids and try to do my best by them. But everyone screws up from time to time, and last week I screwed up big time. I’m starting this thread to make other parents feel better when they make mistakes that affect their kids, and to make myself feel a little better by getting this off my chest. So here’s the story:
Thursday afternoon we were checking in at the airport when the airline ticket counter informed us that Trudi’s passport wasn’t valid! Her first passport was a one-year passport issued to her shortly after she was born, and they told us that when her Canadian citizenship card was issued, they would extend it, which they eventually did. I assumed, fool that I am, that that extension would make her passport a normal five year one. Wrong! It was only a one year extension!
We had a heated discussion at the counter, Trudi sensed a bad vibe and started tugging at Vanessa while we were talking with the people there, and burst into tears when V scolded her. We were told that there was no way Trudi would be allowed to travel with expired travel documents, so I told Vanessa to go ahead with Izzi, and I would stay behind and try to fix things with Trudi in Taipei. Vanessa left quickly so as not to make a scene with Trudi. Trudi looked around and said, “Where’s Mommy?” I told her that Mommy and Izzi were on the plane to Canada. She said, “Daddy and Trudi on the plane with them?” I said, no that we would meet them later. Trudi started crying and saying, “I’m sorry, I’ll be good! Please Daddy!” The poor kid thought it was her fault for pestering V that she couldn’t get on the plane with them. My heart was breaking, but I put on a big (fake) smile and told her that we would have a fun holiday together, just her and me, and maybe we would see Mommy and Izzi later.
The next day I was at the Canadian Trade Office when it opened, and they said they could issue a temporary passport for Trudi, but they needed V’s consent (so as to prevent international abduction). I explained that V hadn’t even gotten off the plane yet, and they said that she would have to go into Passport Canada’s offices Friday morning (Friday evening here) and have them transmit the release to their office. Assuming that the form is waiting for them here in Taipei tomorrow morning, we should be able to fly out in the afternoon, but I won’t feel safe about that until we’re actually on the plane!
I’m such an idiot! It was always my job to take care of all our family’s English language documents, and V’s job to take care of the Chinese language ones. I’d always been flawless about visas, passports, etc - never had a missed flight or an overstay in two and a half decades of international travel, but I sure messed this one up real good. V wasn’t very happy with me, but when she talked to me on the phone, she heard how miserable I was, and she forgave me pretty quickly.
Trudi has been a trooper about everything, but she is clinging to me 24 hours a day - every night she wakes up at some point and crawls into bed with me, and when she is awake, she never lets me out of her sight. Anyway, I’ve learned my lesson - I will never make that particular mistake again. Wish me luck for a smooth egress tomorrow!