We just returned from a ten-day three-state tour to see family members in the Midwest. It has been years since we visited, and there were many homes filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, my sister and new twin nieces to visit, plus two thousand miles of driving after we flew to our starting point! We planned to see my family, my husband’s family, and even some of the outlaws that used to be in-laws. It could have been a disaster, but I was determined it would be fun – lots of fun, even better than the famous Griswold summer vacation.
All I had to do was plot well, try hard, try harder… and find a way to reach all those kinfolk. You see, we lost our home base since the last visit. For the past few decades, we went to see my folks and everyone gathered at their place. Family from far away could fly in and stay with them, too. For my entire adult life, Mom set everything up while I only thought about what we had to pack. This time, the home place belonged to someone else – because my parents had moved to be near us. (It only took about twenty-five years to convince them everything is better in Texas!) So, we had no place to center our visiting. Sure, aunts and uncles offered to let us run rampant at their places, but that’s a pretty big favor, so instead we laid out a circuitous course that took us to seven homes and three different states.
The trouble began when I tried and tried… and tried to accommodate every possible combination of who could meet us where. All of us travel over the summer, so it’s hard to gauge who will be home and who will be at summer camp, traveling out-of-state, or visiting their own extended families. I tried to plot it out, “Will this person be able to meet us downstate by their home, or upstate at her uncle’s birthday party?” I thought to myself, “Will my niece and nephew be with their mom or their dad in mid-July?” (I realized this question needed an answer quick.) There was the unexpected challenge of having used Facebook for so long I didn’t have direct contact information for some family members. Not all of them regularly checked Facebook notifications. Oops!
As we neared the start of the trip, I only had a couple visits nailed down, basically those involving homes in which we were spending the night – and what days we would be in Iowa. I was holding out to hear back from the downstate Michigan folks before I made plans to be hours away upstate. I hadn’t even tried the niece and nephew who (it turned out) were staying with their mom, until I knew which day worked best for us, risking making a huge mistake and not seeing them at all. Plus, some of my efforts to contact people went unanswered as I had old phone numbers or email addresses and my messages didn’t reach them.
Then I let it go. I quit trying so hard to set everything up just right and finished preparing for the trip by making plans with those I could. Guess what? When I realized enough effort had been put into planning and trusted myself to move forward with or without every piece in place, it worked out beautifully. We saw each and every person we hoped to see, plus a couple more family members and friends joined us along the way! It turned out even better than what I had tried to orchestrate!
Yes, I needed to plan, contact people, and make contingencies to create a trip worth taking, but it all came together when I simply trusted it would.
When I let go of control and held onto trust, everything came together.