The instructions were simple: Scan passport here.
By Kerry Thomson
I reached into my bag. Even before my fingers grabbed fruitlessly at the lining, I knew it wasn’t there. I could feel it. Or rather, I couldn’t feel it. All I could feel was a dehydrated wet wipe, a neon whistle I’m pretty sure I confiscated circa 2013 and a soggy raisin (so maybe not entirely fruitless).
Everything was packed meticulously for my big work trip the night before: laptop, notes, favourite ‘I am professional and winging it better than on an average day’ outfit. Everything sorted. I was busy, yes, but who isn’t? I had everything in hand. Except my passport. That was in a drawer 150 miles away.
Now, in my defence, I am not known for being scatty. I don’t want to make the obvious Monica from Friends analogies, but let’s just say I was ‘broad in the beam’ as a teen, enjoy a bit of organised fun and like the idea of guest towels. I have successfully managed to bring life into the world – twice even – and to feed, clothe and de-glitter my children every day for the last few years, all while getting myself out of the house relatively unscathed (is anyone ever ‘scathed’ – why don’t we see that word?) I digress… Yet there I was at the airport and I had forgotten the one thing that mattered most. Me.
“Can’t I get it emailed to myself?” I pleaded with the lady at the desk – instantly knowing I was now on their ‘Stupid Customer of the Day’ list and soon likely to be promoted to ‘Most Annoying Passenger’ list.
“No, we need to know it’s you. We need to see it with you, in your actual hand. Don’t worry love, it’s easy done. It’s easy to forget yourself.”
Then it struck me, clear as day. I felt a lump in my throat – not because it was going to be one huge hassle getting it couriered, not because the later flight meant I’d arrive tired and wired at my Paris destination. But because she had nailed it: “It’s easy to forget yourself, love.” I had left myself in a drawer.
It doesn’t take too much amateur psychology to put the pieces together. I’d been so busy sorting everything else out that I had forgotten, almost literally, myself.
At risk of sounding like a Justin Bieber song, I know we should all be loving ourselves. And I do, I really do try to be kind to me, to be mindful, to dwell ‘in the moment’. I love a quick inspirational quote from Pinterest coupled with a clean-eating recipe (usually while eating a dirty bag of flaming hot triangular shaped snacks and drinking something above 12.5 per cent).
I know it is important to notice the small things, the dew on a rose petal, the smell of fresh coffee, the sound of your youngest triumphantly telling you they ‘wiped their own BUM and it was a big messy POO!’ I am trying to be more ‘here’, more in the moment. But some weeks it is easier than others. Some weeks I’m great at the proverbial ‘juggling’, other weeks I feel like running away to join the proverbial circus.
Because let’s face it, it isn’t always easy to be ‘Mindful’ and ‘In The Moment’ when you’re running late for a conference call, you’ve had 3.5 hours sleep (since 2010), you’re worried you’ve forgotten to sign the permission slip for the Friendly Ferret Visit and your Tesco delivery thoughtfully substituted your Aussie Dry Shampoo for a tin of creamed coconut milk.
Long story short, I got on the plane. Me (and my passport) arrived in the most romantic city in the world. My taxi driver tells me he has lived in Paris his whole life and that ‘only yesterday’ he went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I ask him how come only now? He tells me his mum was visiting and he wanted her to see how beautiful his city was from up high. I smile. From I was tiny, I’ve always had a thing for the Eiffel Tower.
I always tell my children I love them ‘to the top of the Eiffel Tower,’ because it’s something they recognise and they know it is very high. We race through the Paris streets while he plays bouncy jazz on his radio and mutters about the traffic. I’m half dozing when he mutters in French, “It’s much higher up than you realise when you’re at the very top.” ‘Oui.’ I say, and reach into my bag. Just to make sure I’m there.
About Kerry: Beyond joyful for two small things. Work/life blender, half Scottish, answers to ‘Mum-meeeeeee!’ and ‘Do you have a window when we can connect?’ Likes poetry, symmetry, organised fun, trashy mags, airport lounges, quiet, discos, listening well, most food, except raisins. Reads when can. Co sleeps but not sure how that happened. Works hard plays soft and always brings her own socks.