I have a friend that lives by the mantra her Momma taught her: Always keep your passport current and be ready to pack a bag in 15 minutes. Because you never know when someone is going to invite you on the trip of a lifetime, and you won’t want to say “no.”
My kids have had passports since my daughter was six months old. We’ve done virtually nothing with our family passports, but we do manage to keep the dream alive.
I just pulled them out of the drawer and dusted them off, because I thought–since my husband is in Arizona on a
golfing extravaganza business trip, the kids and I might as well have some fun too. So, as you know, we headed across the Canadian border to visit family yesterday. Not exactly laying poolside in the desert sun or anything. But watching hockey finals in a neighborhood pub counts as equally entertaining, eh?
So, after my two and a half hour drive with bored–now starving–children, we are greeted at the border with a 30 minute wait. It was Friday night. I should have known. Oh well, we sing some songs and tell some jokes, and before we know it, we’ve arrived at the border patrol booth. To a *very pleasant* woman who barks questions at me like I’m some kind of criminal.
I hand over our passports thinking she’ll certainly be impressed by how organized I am to have passports for my children instead of just birth certificates and doctor’s records. And since this is probably the hundredth time I’ve crossed this very same border–with my children, on numerous occasions–I don’t plan on having any trouble here.
Do your children have another parent? she inquires. I resist the urge to explain the biology behind human reproduction with “It does take two to tango” and reply with a simple “Yes, my husband” instead.
Where is your husband? she demands. In Arizona, I reply.
Why are you vacationing separately? she wants to know. Is this marriage counseling? I wonder. But, again, I decide to explain that he had to be out-of-town on business so I thought we’d go visit family in that house over there that I can practically see from the border.
Then, she asks me if I have a note. This time, I couldn’t hold back the quizzical look on my face. A what? I ask. A note, she insists. From my husband? I counter. Yes. She glares at me with cold, steely eyes, as if I am kidnapping my children and making a run for the border while my husband is out-of-town.
I refrain from explaining to her that I am not regularly in the habit of requesting permission slips from my husband. Or that if she had any ability to read people what-so-ever, she could see that clearly, if I were going to run away from home with my children, I would be heading for somewhere sunnier than Canada. For the love of God.
Finally, she let me through. This time. But not without a slap on the wrist and a reprimand to be sure I get a note from my husband next time. Minimizing kidnappers. As a parent, I have to be grateful for her diligence this evening. But as the exhausted mother of two starving children who just want to start our mini-vaca, I could have done without her Canadian inquisition.
And for the record, I might go so far as to suggest that a note from my husband is not exactly going to solve this little crisis here. I mean, I did begin my life of forgery in the fifth grade when all of my classmates used to ask me to write them bus passes to go to a friend’s house … because my handwriting looked like a grown-up’s.