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Making the Shift From Stress to Serenity When Travel Plans Go Awry

Hey there! Welcome back to another episode of The Mom-entum Podcast. I’m Tanya Valentine, and today I'm sharing a recent family trip that turned into quite the adventure. Here’s what happened:

 

- We embarked on a two-week stay in Boston, filled with cherished moments with family and friends.

- On our way back to Indiana, a simple rental car return became a chaotic search when I realized the key fob was missing.

- Through the stress, I turned to prayer and found unexpected kindness from strangers, which turned the situation around completely.

 

Key Takeaways:

 

1. Stay Calm and Problem-Solve:  When things go sideways, take a deep breath. Panic doesn’t help, but a clear mind does. Assess the situation and think through your options.

 

2. Trust in Kindness:  People surprise you. From the rental car staff to a helpful bus driver, the kindness of others made a stressful situation manageable. Trust that there are good people out there ready to lend a hand.

 

3. Lean on Faith: For me, prayer was a source of peace and guidance. Whether religious or not, finding that inner calm and hope can make a world of difference when plans unravel.

 

Join me as we unpack this journey and find inspiration in navigating life’s unexpected twists.

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TRANSCRIPT

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Momentum Podcast where we aim to inspire, uplift and empower women on their journey through motherhood.  I’m your host, Tanya Valentine, and I want to thank you so much for being here.  

 

How is everyone’s summer going?  I hope it is going well and that you are getting to enjoy yourselves and you are creating fun memories with your families.  As for me, my family and I just returned a few days ago from a 2 week stay in Boston.  And while it was far from relaxing, it was good to be home and get to visit with my family and friends who mean so much to me.  And its funny how fast 2 weeks goes by.  It almost never feels like enough time, I always leave thinking I wish I had planned better and I wish I had visited with this person or that person, or I wish I would’ve taken the kids to this thing.  But at the same time I am very grateful for the time we got to spend with family and friends and I do realize how privileged we are to even have the ability to do that.  And it is good to be back in our home and kind of get back into more of a structure and routine.

 

So speaking about this trip back to my hometown, I have to say it was very eye opening and I felt like it was a huge learning experience for me for so many reasons and I got so many ideas while I was here for different topics for future podcast episodes.  And one of which I will talk about today.

 

So it was the day we were leaving Boston to return home to Indiana and my Mom was kind enough to accompany us on the flight home because Chris had to cut his vacation short to return home and get back to work.  But to say my mom was kind enough to do that is such an understatement because there was a lot of effort involved in getting this family of 3 kids aged 6,4 and 2 from Boston to Indiana.  And i want to give a huge thank you to her and I can’t even express my gratitude enough because she was a tremendous help, and I was especially grateful that she was with us when I was in the middle of this predicament that I’m about to share with you all right now.

 

So we had planned everything to help ensure our travels went as smoothly as possible.  We had everything packed and ready to leave the house by 1 for a flight that wasn’t even leaving until 5:30 pm and my mom only lives about 30 minutes from the airport.   So we leave to allow plenty of time to drop my mom off at the parking garage and then for me to then drop her off with the 2 older kids and then I was going to take Serena, my 2 year old with me to drop off the rental car and then take the shuttle bus to the airport.  So I dropped my mom and the 2 older kids off at the airport with all of the luggage including a beach wagon and booster seat, like seriously we had so much stuff as is the case when you are traveling with young children.  and I look at the time and it’s not even 2 o clock yet and I’m so proud of us that we were able to get everyone here so early and you know everything seems to be going smoothly.  

 

And then as im leaving to go drop off the rental car, I see a message on the dashboard saying that the key fob is missing.  Now I’m driving, and by the way I am a nervous driver as it is, but I find it especially anxiety provoking when I’m driving in the city or through airports or on the highway or basically somewhere unfamiliar.  But anyways, I’m trying to pay attention and figure out where I need to go to drop off this rental car when I see this message come up that the key fob is missing.  And I immediately go into panic mode.  But I knew I had to make a decision fast.  My thought was well the car is still running so it should be in the car right?  

 

And then the what ifs and worry came up.  What if the keys fell out as I was taking all of the luggage out of the car?  What if the keys somehow ended up in my moms purse?  I immediately called my mom and let her know what was going on and asked her to look for the keys.  Meanwhile she has 2 of my kids plus all of the luggage that she can’t leave unattended at the airport.  And I could just sense the stress and irritation in her voice.  

 

I hung up the phone so that I could focus on trying to figure out how to get to the rental car drop off because I figured I’m already on my way there, maybe it just fell somewhere in the back of the car, and I’m sure someone at the rental place will be able to help.  Then I get there and there is this man directing me where to go and when he comes to me to get my information I’m like “hey I need help.”  I told him everything that happened.  How I had picked my mom up from the parking garage where she had parked her car and then I dropped her off with my two older kids and our luggage.  And how after I dropped them off, I noticed this message saying that the key fob was missing.  And it was at that moment that Serena woke up and she’s crying, just like adding another layer of stress to the situation. 

 

And I wondered could I have left the key at my moms place?  Because I had started the car before packing everyone in it so that the air conditioning could run and cool it down a little bit.  And I remembered after starting the car I had made multiple trips in and out just to pack the luggage and kids in the car.  So I wondered was it possible that I left it there?  Like would the car have allowed me to drive that far without the key fob inside?  The man kindly assured me that it would not.  I asked him if it would be ok if I pulled the car over to look for the key and he said it was.  So I park the car and I’m scrambling to quickly find this key and I’m just in a panic because I also know that my mom is stuck with the kids and can’t really do anything until I’m there, like she can’t check the kids in for the flight without me.  And this garage was dark and even using the light on my phone it was just hard to see anything.  So I search the whole car and I don’t find this key fob.  I call my mom and she tells me she searched through all their things and the curb where I had dropped them off and she didn’t find anything.  

 

So I tell the guy at the rental place this and he’s like ok well drive back to the airport and look for the key and if you can’t find it then come back and we’ll figure something out.  I’m like well I just got off the phone with my mom and she looked and she said its not there.  The only other thing I could think of is that I picked her up from the parking garage and when I was there I had to get out because Rocco, my son, had wanted a snack so I got out of the car to give him a snack so maybe it could have fallen out there?

 

 So he’s like ok head back there and look for it but whatever you do, don’t shut the car off because if you don’t have the key its not gonna start back up. . 

 

Meanwhile Serena’s crying in the back of the car.  And I can just feel this visceral reaction, like my whole body is hot and sweaty and tense.  

 

So then I took a deep breath, gave myself a little pep talk not to panic and sent a heartfelt prayer up to God asking for help.

 

Then the guy directs me where to go and  as I’m driving through this garage panicking and not entirely sure if I’m going the right way I see this other guy who works for the rental car company and he’s walking up to the car and he sees this panicked look on my face and he asks me whats wrong.  So I explained the whole story to him and he couldn’t have been nicer.  He was like ok when is your flight and I tell him, and he assures me I should have enough time and he’s like ok  I’m gonna direct you where to go and if you cant find your keys at the parking garage, just call roadside assistance, I’m gonna call them right now and give them a heads up in case you need them just to like expedite the process. 

 

So then I felt a little bit better.  And I pull up to the exit booth and I’m met by this woman who was truly an angel.  She saw the worried look on my face and she was like what’s wrong.  I explained to her everything and then I glanced at the dashboard and noticed that the “key fob missing” message was gone.  I was like omg, the message went away, does that mean the key fob is in the car somewhere?  She was like I am going to close my window and you take as much time as you need to look for them, they have to be in there.  And this was just what I needed to hear, like take all the time you need, you don’t need to rush, and the assurance that they have to be in the car.  So i literally dig through my diaper bag, take everything out, still can’t find it.  This sweet woman comes out of her booth to help me look for it.  I then step out and open the car door behind me to where Serena’s sitting and there’s this cup holder in the bottom of the door and I can’t see anything because its dark but I stick my hand in there to feel around and miraculously find the keys! Oh my goodness, I have never been so excited to find keys in my life! I was jumping up and down it was just such a feeling of relief and like thank God. I thanked the woman for her kindness and patience for allowing me the time and space to look for the keys which is just what I needed in order to find them.  

 

So then I drove back to return the rental car and I was so excited to tell the guy I found the keys and they were in the car the whole time!  I was then pleasantly surprised when he took $100 off the price of the rental for all the trouble I went through, which was so incredibly nice of him.  And then when Serena and I were getting on the shuttle bus to go from the car rental garage to the airport the driver was so sweet, he saw that I had Serena in the stroller and he got up and helped me pick the stroller up and get it on the bus.  And when we got to the terminal he even helped me pick it up and get it off the bus. And by the time we got to the airport and reunited with my mom and the other kids we still had plenty of time to check our bags, go through security and even use the bathroom and get food before we boarded the plane.

 

So why am I telling you this story?  Well to be honest, for more than one reason.  One, I figured it’s kind of amusing now looking back on it. 2 this experience really restored my faith in humanity.  I think so often we can watch the news and hear horror stories of how horribly people can treat one another, and I don’t think we give equal air time to the many unbelievably kind and generous human beings that also exist in this world. 

 

 I am so grateful for the kindness that was extended to me from the staff members at Alamo and the bus driver who helped me with the stroller.  The woman at the exit booth, the compassion she had, and her willingness to help, it really made the difference for me.  She could see I was in a panic and she very easily could’ve been like ya know good luck and let me go on my way and the outcome would have been very different, i may have even missed my flight.  And I am always saying that it’s our thoughts that create our feelings and that the outside world does not determine our thoughts, actions or outcomes but it is our thoughts about the outside world.  But when we are kind to others, when we can do even the simplest things to help another person, it can really help to give them the boost they need to influence their thinking so that its easier for them to experience more positive feelings which will then transform their actions that will lead to more positive results. 

 

 And by me going through this inconvenience, and because of the kindness extended towards me, it makes me want to pay that kindness forward.  If I see someone struggling at the airport with their kids, I’m that much more likely to offer a lending hand and I’m much less likely to judge because I have empathy, I know what it’s like and how stressful it can be traveling with little kids.  

 

So just this lesson of extending small acts of kindness, patience and compassion and how that can make a huge difference for someone in a positive way. 

 

And another thing I was thinking was you know what was I thinking, how did I talk to myself as I was going through this?  I did start to panic, like that was my default response.  But there was a moment when I recognized that that wasn’t serving me and that I needed to pay attention and be intentional with my thoughts.  I told myself that everything was going to be ok, that i would figure it out.  I reminded myself that the worst case scenario was that we would miss our flight, and at the end of the day, that wasn’t a big deal.  We all are alive, we are healthy, that is all that matters and that when this is all over and it’s all figured out we are going to look back at this moment and laugh about it.  

 

I also turned to my source of peace and wisdom by praying to God for assistance. All I wanted was to find my keys, and I was so blessed to do so. I was pleasantly surprised when I received $100 off the rental car and grateful for the help from the bus driver, allowing us to make it to the airport with plenty of time. And at the end of the day, we made it home safe and sound.

 

Listen, this isn’t exactly a religious podcast, and I want everyone to feel welcome here. But I have to share my faith because it is a huge part of who I am. Whenever I am struggling and I ask God for help, He answers my prayers. Although I don’t always get exactly what I want, it's always what I need. The answer to prayer can come in the form of serendipity, a kind act from others, a solution to a problem, or even just a feeling of peace or relief within. 

 

So this is something that works for me: prayer and having faith that things will work out. If you find yourself in a stressful situation like mine, try this out. Say a prayer. Pay attention to your thoughts and words. Are they negative or positive? Catch yourself if you’re being self-critical and think about what you would say to a best friend in that situation. Remind yourself, "It's going to be okay. You will get through this. You can and will figure this out. You are capable." Ask yourself what's the worst that can happen, and is it really that bad?

 

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Mom-entum Podcast. I hope my story from our trip resonated with you, maybe made you laugh, and perhaps reminded you of the importance of kindness, patience, and staying calm in stressful situations. Remember, it's in those challenging moments that we often learn the most about ourselves and others.

 

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with your friends and family, and don't forget to subscribe so you never miss an update. I’d love to hear your thoughts and any similar experiences you’ve had, so feel free to reach out on social media or leave a comment.

 

Until next time, keep inspiring, uplifting, and empowering each other on this beautiful journey through motherhood. Take care, and I'll talk to you soon!

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