Sunday, May 19, 2013

If only life came with do-overs

How many times have you wished you could rewind the clock just a bit---a couple of minutes, a few days, even a month or two---and change the way you handled something?  Do you find yourself wishing you could travel via time machine back several years and warn your earlier self about __________ (fill in the blank)?  That's the situation our family finds ourselves in right now.

For several months now, Amanda and the rest of her senior class has been raising money for their Senior Trip.  For the first time ever, the seniors would be allowed to go on an Alaskan cruise for their final activity as high school students, and everyone was excited.  Chad and I were at first reluctant to even allow Amanda to plan to go because the price seemed astronomical (after ballooning a couple of times, it finally settled at just under $1,000), but there were lots of fund-raising events that would help with the cost, and Amanda was able to raise the money without pitching in any from her own pocket.  This was a sticking point because she needed to be saving what she could preparatory to entering college in the fall.  There were a few seniors who had opted out of the trip for differing reasons, but most were really excited about going.  The dates for the cruise were announced  to be May 18 - 25.

There were several hurdles to jump concerning proper documentation and paperwork involved in allowing our minor children to accompany Bro. Jon and Mrs. Whitney Minge on the cruise.  I take the blame for not getting the ball rolling earlier on this.  I "thought we had plenty of time" to get what we needed, which was a government-issued ID card (since Mandie does not have her driver's license yet) along with a handwritten letter from us, her parents, stating that we give permission, blah, blah, blah.  I thought we could just run down to the local Dept. of Licensing and get her ID card in a couple of hours, so I put it off until the week before the cruise.  When I checked the website to see what we needed to bring for proof of identity, I discovered that we could get a paper copy of her ID card but not the real card---that would arrive in 7 - 10 days.  At this point, the cruise was a little over a week away.  Bro. Jon, Chad, and I all made tons of phone calls, trying to discover if Mandie would be allowed on the cruise with just a temporary ID card.  Amongst the three of us, we probably made around twenty calls to various people, offices, and organizations.  (Bro. Jon was directed to call our DOL, Canadian Port Authority, and---get this---even Homeland Security!  All this for an 18-year-old to go on a Senior Trip!)  No one would give us a straight answer, but the general consensus was that a temporary ID should be sufficient to allow Amanda to board with the others.

Amanda asked her father to go with her to the DOL to get the ID card, since, as she said, "Dad is more authoritative than you, Mom."  True, true.  In other words, if there are any unforeseen snags, Dad's the man to go to!  So, last Wednesday afternoon, Chad and Amanda, armed with her birth certificate and Social Security card, went to the DOL to get her official ID card stating that she is who she has been for the last 18 and a half years!  And may I just stop here and say how ridiculous it is that someone who is born in these United States has to go through more steps to prove they are who they are than someone who has entered this country illegally.  There is something seriously wrong with our government that is supposedly designed to serve us, the people, when we have to provide three different forms of identification in order to obtain an identification card!  And that, only after having filled out the proper forms and waiting a couple of weeks.  (Picture me throwing up my hands in disgust.)

Anyway, about an hour and a half later, Chad and Mandie returned to the school, obviously upset.  Mandie's face said, "I'm trying not to cry, so don't ask me anything."  Chad just came out and said, "It's the wrong birth certificate."  How do you have the wrong birth certificate for one of your own children?  As it turns out, the birth document---with an official-looking seal and signatures and all---was just from the hospital, not from the state.  For 18 years, we have held onto a birth certificate that was really just a pretty piece of paper.  The lady at the DOL was very blunt when she stated, "This is just a souvenir from the hospital."  We tried contacting the Indiana office of certification to maybe overnight a copy of her birth certificate but were told that if would take up to seven weeks to receive it.  And we have no family in the area who could possibly walk in and receive a copy to overnight to us.  Soooooo, that was that.  End of the line.

People have been very sympathetic, but it boils down to this:  we put it off too late.  If we had only started this process a couple of months ago, we would have discovered the glitches in time to get her ID card and allow her to go on the cruise.  But, these are the hard lessons of life.  Amanda asked Bro. Jon if she could let someone else go in her place, and he was able to get the name changed on the reservation so that one of the other seniors could take the trip instead.  I hope they have a great time and come back with lots of pictures to share.  No matter how you spin it, this week is going to be hard on Amanda.  We're trying to come up with some fun activities to help with the left-behind feeling; we'll see how that goes.  Amanda definitely has displayed a forgiving spirit and is deliberately not blaming anyone, and for this I thank her and the Lord.

Enough tragedy..........on to comedy!  Friday night, the high school drama class put on their Spring Play, written by the students and performed with great flair.  It was a comedy, a farce about old Rome, except Caesar liked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and his band of Roman soldiers was less than well-trained!  It truly was alot of fun to enact and watch.  Mandie played the part of the younger sister who got to watch her older sister being prepared for the role she would play as wife to some great man (which meant dieting ruthlessly, standing for hours for dress fittings, and watching her tongue) while the younger sister got to wear whatever she wanted, eat whatever she wanted, and say whatever she wanted.  The plot twisted to reveal the fact that the reigning Caesar had had his older brother and family killed so that he could ascend the throne.  However, the soldiers had recently captured some dissidents sailing in their waters, one of which turned out to be the daughter of the nurse of the older brother's wife and infant son.  The son was now grown into a young man and able to reclaim the throne in his father's name.  And all lived happily ever after........even the former Caesar who, though imprisoned and enslaved now, could eat as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as he desired!  We had a lot of fun watching the play and laughing at the various silly scenes, and it seemed like the actors enjoyed playing their parts, too.  Bro. Minge, our principal who recently took over the play production, was rather relieved to have the performance finished at last; props preparation and rehearsals and such took up so much of his time lately.  We held a bake sale afterwards to help balance the costs of decorations and costumes, so everyone got to stand around and fellowship for a bit.

And now, we enter the final sprint!  There are only two weeks of school left in this year.  Parents are pushing their kids to do their best on their finals while at the same time trying to fill out book order forms for next year.  Students have been going crazy just thinking about the thrills of the upcoming summer break.  Teachers have been doing their best to keep hold of the reins of the class and conduct their students to a safe and successful finish.  When the final bell rings at 12:35 p.m. on Friday, May 31st, there will be great rejoicing from the student body and heartfelt sighs of relief from the teachers!

I need to go now; church is starting soon.  God bless each of you as you live for Him.

Philippians 4: 13  "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

1 comment:

  1. Kirsten, I had to go through all of this a couple months ago, when I renewed my driver's license. Florida now makes everyone submit proof of residency and citizenship in order to renew their licenses. even though I've been licensed in this country since 1973, it doesn't matter. I was lucky in that I had a copy of my birth certificate from my Town Hall back home in New England, and my Mom is still living there, so I could have gotten more documentation if needed. But I witnessed some horror stories at the office. And those hospital certificates aren't worth anything here either, I saw a couple in front of me have to cancel a retirement cruise because they couldn't get their paperwork in time. I feel so bad for your daughter, I agree that these agencies need to be very clear and publicize what they require as proof. There are a lot of people out there with the same certificate that you had. As for the High School play, it sounded like great fun, I bet they had a solid blast putting it on. I remember the excitement and craziness of the end of year school activities, I bet you're looking forward to taking a deep breath and relax a little when Summer break starts. As always, I love this blog, thanks again for everything that you share with us. Your family remains in my prayers, all my best, Eric