Vacation plans gone badly awry

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!

You’re a great Dad. This much shines though via your children. All will be well. Jimi sends big hugs and love.


Poor Trudi. And Vanessa, making that long flight with Izzi.

And you. When I heard about this, and told the Pixie, her eyes went So Wide: “Oh no. Oh no. If that was you…”

Somehow, I think the only memories that will be imprinted will be snuggling with Dad, the adventure of the plane ride with Dad, and the reunion in Canada with Mom.

48hours…and you’ll have landed this mess behind you.

Enjoy your holiday.

Kids have a more in-the-moment way about them and possess a wonderful adaptability that lets them takes things as they come and appreciate the good sides of most situations. They tend to get over their emotional experiences faster than the adults around them, who tend to feel longer lasting regrets. I’m with MJB on this. If your young child has any lasting memories of this time, it will be of the time spent with you and the new experiences.

Mistakes happen, what can you do. Ultimately and thankfully, this one is far more in the category of an annoyance than other potential mistakes might possibly be, God forbid.

Did you explain to her why you couldn’t go? I think a toddler, while still almost surely getting upset, could understand “the man said we have the wrong paper, we have to get the right one”

Did you explain to her why you couldn’t go?[/quote]
Of course. I told her that she was already a very good girl, and that we both loved her very much, and that the two of us would have lots of fun together. (Actually, we HAVE had a good time together, and it’s been nice for my parents that they can enjoy meeting Isabel, their youngest granddaughter, for the first time without distraction. But it’s still not ideal.) Anyway, Trudi accepted my explanation, but you could tell she was a little confused. We had been building up the trip for days, and especially on the day of our intended departure, she was hopping up and down with excitement that she would get to go on an airplane with her sister, her mommy, and her daddy, and we’d eat on the plane, and we’d watch movies on the plane, etc, etc. All of a sudden, it was just her and me, and we took the bus back to a very quiet apartment. It was pretty anti-climactic. :neutral:

Poor kid…

And you must feel terrible! Still that was a mistake, an oversight, and in the grand scheme of things not really serious. You’re not failing your kids by not putting food on the table or a roof over their heads.


You didn’t fail your kid. Cutting short a vacation by a few days may feel like a biggie now, but it isn’t. Your kid is with you, snuggling up to you, safely. All is well. :slight_smile: Chin up, and wishing you the best for today’s flight.

We all fail them from time to time. I know how you feel. They’re so precious, so innocent, so trusting, we don’t ever want to let them down, but you should give yourself a break. Let it go. Trudi already has. Have fun in Canada!

On the way here, Maoman, I also faced a lot of troubles at the airport. Not the same thing, but had to buy a second set of full price tickes for the Housekitten and myself at the last moment–long story–which meant that I would not be taking him for a trip to Disney Land in HK as a part of our big adventure/move to Taiwan.

Having to tell him that broke my heart! It broke his heart too, but I gained new admiration and respect for him for trying to be very big about it.

I’ll still take him when things are sorted back out about this, but it means a long delay. He still doesn’t fully understand, but he’s still being great about it.

Things will work out. You’ll have a lovely time with all of your family soon. Cheers!

Update: Passport Canada sent an e-mail to the Canadian Trade Office in Taiwan confirming that Vanessa had signed the necessary documents, but the bastards in Ontario FORGOT TO ATTACH THEM! So we STILL don’t have her passport - Tuesday morning at the earliest, but the next flight wouldn’t leave until Thursday night, and that’s if we can even get on! My travel agent (Dale, at WHOSE Travel, who’s been an absolute star) says the flight is packed to the rafters, but he might try putting us on standby (not very likely to succeed) or upgrading us to business class (expensive, and also not a sure bet). Of course the whole family is just incredibly dismayed. Vanessa is in tears, Trudi doesn’t know why we can’t go on an airplane today, everyone’s angry at the ineptness of Passport Canada in Ontario, and we don’t yet know how or if the situation will resolve itself.

I’m feeling just absolutely rotten, but in the meantime, I have to put on a brave face and find fun things to do with Trudi. I know this isn’t a life or death crisis, but I still appreciate your concern and sympathy. :frowning:

Ouch, I’m sorry to hear that, Maoman. :cry: There’s just so much that can happen when you have to rely on the government to do thinks quickly. I hope you and Trudi are able to enjoy your time in Taipei and are able to have a blast once you get to Canada.

My baby sitting offer is still open!

! :noway:
How would YOU know ANYTHING about this?
Did you read about it in a book?

Kids remember far longer than they seem to get over anything. While they have not yet learned to regret, they are apt to recall any situation involving shock & awe. 
The crux of the biscuit is to make them aware of the fickle finger of fate, and that sometimes things happen that are beyond control, or perhaps due to Dad or Mom not being able to be on the ball all of the time. Sometimes it gets slipped past the goalie, and it's not the kids fault.
I have me kids order me to do push-ups whenever I screw up. Which is often, as there is no real-time manual for parenting. It's mainly a hands-on fine tuning, responding to gaps in the perimeter.
Grace under pressure, one can teach that. It's not so much a matter of trickle on down that some would have us believe.

Goodness, Maoman, when it rains it pours! I know this has to be very tough. I remember you talking about how expensive this all was and how much your family at home was doing to support you once you got there so that you all could spend some good time together.

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do but ride it out, man. Grace to you.

Sounds like you’re handling it well, Maoman. You’re helping Trudi to see it as an adventure, and you’re not losing it, like so many people in your situation would. It sucks, but if it’s any consolation, the eventual reunion will be even sweeter!

Damn. Sorry to hear that Maoman. Best of luck to you for a speedy reunion. In the meantime, I hope you’re treating Trudi very special, taking her to fun places to play (swimming pool, park, movie, etc) and fun restaurants, etc. I’m sure you’ve explained it all beautifully and told her how much you love her and it’s not her fault one bit, but hopefully you can make it a little bit of a fun Taipei holiday for the two of you. :s


Those kid passports are easily overlooked because they are only for five years. Gail is almost ready for her third one, and Herman is about due for a second. Just more work for us. I’m sure you’ll make everything work out Maoman.

Wow that sucks, good luck.