The trip of a lifetime.  Matt and I, we were going on the trip of a lifetime.  That’s how it all started, anyway.  We began our day at 5:00 a.m., showering and packing last minute travel supplies and sunscreen.  The kids slept soundly in our beds, as they had the whole week.  Their mama couldn’t stand the thought of the next two weeks without them, so I cuddled with them every last second I could.

They awoke around 6:15, so we fixed the last breakfast of the week and readied their school supplies and bag for Nonni’s.  I got lots of teary kisses (just me crying–they were pumped about the weeks to come with grandmamas and grandaddy’s), and we were out the door by 6:45.  Our itinerary was sorta crazy, starting in Montgomery, Alabama, then stopping through Atlanta, Montreal, and Paris before landing in Venice 16 hours later.

The first two flights were rather uneventful, and despite my dread of the 7 hour flight, it was perfectly normal, too.  We had only 1 hour to get from our plane to our next gate to Venice, though, and our luck finally ran out.  When I say ran out, I mean it hit the strongest wall imaginable and shriveled up to nothing.  I have to say, I”m not a complainer in travel circumstances, but the folks at ole’ Air France were quite difficult.  We talked to 2 or 3 people, who all assured us we were doing fine on time…we were going to make our last flight.

That was also before we had to sprint one mile to our gate.  The staff had not printed our boarding passes yet, and we were escorted out of the security line and back to ticketing, all with 25 minutes to spare.  Things just went downhill from that point forward.

We went back and forth, “no, you need to head to customer service…I’m sorry the flight is already checked in.”  “you’re not checked in, you know.” well, yes, at this point, we’re gathering that.  “head on over to the electronic kiosk and print your pass.”  “oh, that didn’t work, head to customer service.”  “OOOhhh, looks like you’re not checked in.”  Really??  We hadn’t noticed.

We watched our plane to Venice clear the runway about 20 yards away from us, having arrived with plenty of enough time to spare.  Yuck.  Oh well, we felt like our luck had been too good to catch so many perfectly normal flights, anyway.  We happily grabbed a Coke and a snack & waited a few hours to catch the next flight to Venice.

We boarded the plane, and caught a little more head-knocking-the-side-of-the-plane-and-the-seat-in-front-of-you zzz’s.  Giddy with excitement when the plane landed, we all but skipped to baggage claim.  Matt had bought me some new luggage, as mine was falling apart, and I knew within minutes it just wasn’t coming.

Okay, frustrating, sure.  Trip ruined?  No.  Our ship wasn’t going to leave until lunchtime the following day, so we would just have our bag delivered to the ship terminal in Venice.

All we needed to do was hand over our passports, and all would be on its way….oh. my. word.  (insert other terrible words/thoughts/desperation here)  Matt couldn’t find his passport.

Mind you, we take groups of 30 kids to Honduras every other year, and haven’t lost a passport.  Not one.

Within a few minutes it was clear, though.  He had no passport.

A sickening feeling began to crawl its way through me…

We were not going on the trip of a lifetime, after all.

To be continued…