I’m a planner, a list maker, an organizer with a capital O. It’s not that I am especially talented at being organized. It’s only that I’ve discovered it helps me feel that I have some control in my ADD /OCD world. I like to believe that I am creating order out of chaos.

Oh – I do love creatively, spontaneity and serendipity – yet I want my day to run smoothly – my plans to play out properly. Who doesn’t, right?

Railroad TracksSo what happens when the perfect game plan goes running off the train tracks?

Like this past week…

It started out innocent enough. I had a busy week planned for my business, plus helping entertain visiting out-of-state relatives. We picked up our cousins at the train station from their long trek from the Midwest.

The plan was for a relaxing lunch before their check in time at the hotel–let them unwind from their long trip.

Except that we spent the next four hours trying to track down their luggage.

Missed lunch altogether.

But I did track down the luggage and my relatives were grateful that I knew my way around town, made the calls and took care of it. Then we had a very nice, relaxed dinner. Okay – not too bad.

The next day started out good…a visit at the Art Museum…until my mother fell down the stairs outside the museum. We all spent the afternoon in the ER. Fortunately my mother managed to survive this with only a broken nose and finger, multiple stitches and lots of bruises.

Missed lunch again. This was turning in a theme.

But we all shared hours together later at my mother’s place, grateful that she was allowed to return home. And we finally ate some dinner, and told stories of the past…and laughed…a lot.

At that point, reality had to be faced. My family needed my full attention. I cancelled all my appointments for the week. I played tour guide during the day for our visiting relatives (while my mother napped and rested from her injuries) and then we all gathered at her place in the evenings to chat and reminisce.

The important part of this experience – the part that made the difference between disaster, and making the best of a situation, was that all of us kept our sense of humor. We joked about the missed meals…how we all lost some needed weight…we bonded again as if the years had not come between us.

It may have not been the perfect experience I had hoped for our family, but it was the unpredictable game changers and adversity that gave us opportunities to spend more time together and support each other. Perhaps we all received more from this week because of the challenges…I like to think so.

And I learned that I have some wonderful clients, who understand that there are times when family needs to come first, over all else.

Oh – and as a final note, you should know that when my relatives were safely boarded on the train to return to the Midwest, I believed they were finally done with all this craziness. But no – a half hour later their train hit a truck that was partially on the tracks. Yep.

But – no one was killed. No one on the train was injured. My relatives made their connecting train in LA and made it back on time to the Midwest.

My family can never say that their trip was uneventful. As my cousin said in her last text, “Unforgettable!”

Let’s all hope our lives are such!