After trudging through a very arduous November and December, you and your family decide to embark on an exciting and much needed vacation to Costa Rica for winter break. Warm sunny beaches, rest and relaxation, and no cooking or cleaning await you.
At noon, the day before your 5:00 AM departure to Costa Rica, you pull your passports out and realize your oldest child’s passport has expired. Holy hell! How did we let this happen? Whoops, I mean, how did YOU let this happen, not me. I would never let a passport expire.
Alright, yes… it was me, well, my husband and me. A Crappiest Parent trophy will be awarded to us again this year.
Ok, now what do you do? This is what we did:
Step 1: Shit Yourself
You are leaving in less than 17 hours. There is no way you can get a passport in time. All the money you have spent and planning you have done are down the drain. Now, you must figure out a way to break the news to your kids that you royally f***ed up and you don’t blame them if they hate you.
Step 2: Regroup
Ok, enough with the pity party. There is hope, right? Get on the Google and get the phone numbers for the State Department, local passport office, everyone in Congress, any ambassador that will give you the time of day, the White House, your mayor, the Postmaster General, and the head of the TSA. Call, tweet, and email every last one of them begging (& offering bribes) to let your child into and out of the country without a valid passport. When no one responds, cry.
Step 3: Get Informed
At 12:15 PM, call the State Department again. After speaking with a helpful person at the State Department’s Passport Office, we were basically told we were screwed. Now what?
Step 4: Drive Like The Wind
At 12:35 PM, desperate for a vacation, and armed with paperwork, passports, drivers’ licenses, and money, we hauled ass to the passport office in Chicago to see if they could help.
Step 5: Hurry Up & Wait
Arriving at 1:15 PM, we were directed through a few different lines and rooms (we didn’t have an appointment), each time explaining our dire situation. We were told there was a small chance of getting an expedited passport. However, we needed our child’s social security number and a recent (within the last 6 months) photo of her. We forgot her social security card and do not have a recent passport-sized photo. SON OF A BITCH!!
Step 6: Run, Don’t Walk To The UPS Store
At 2:00 PM, we left the passport office, ran to the nearest UPS Store to have my child’s passport photo taken. Who knew the UPS Store took passport photos? But what about the social security card. SHIT!!!!! The Social Security office closed at noon. What to do? The passport office stops processing at 3:00 PM. I don’t have time to drive home and drive back (remember, both parents have to be present to take and oath and sign the passport paperwork.) DOUBLE SHIT!!!
Step 7: Enlist Help From Friends
At 2:15 PM, I sent out an urgent code red 911 text to my friends Jenny, Megan, and Carrie, begging one of them to break into my house and get my child’s social security card out our safe. Carrie responded first and she called me with the social security number. Jenny and Megan were ready to jump in and help as well. Thank you God for good friends. #blessed.
Step 8: Hover, But Don’t Be A Pain In The Ass
At 2:30 PM, after running back to the passport office from the UPS Store with the new photo and social security number written on a grocery store receipt, I gracefully hovered near the window where the passport office representative was holding on to our child’s passport application. As soon as her window freed up, I pounced. I gave her the missing information she needed to process the application. We took the almighty passport oath and signed the document.
At 2:45 PM, the passport office representative said to come back between 3:00 & 4:00 PM to see if the passport would be processed.
Step 9: Wait And Pray
It was 3:00 PM and we were wiped out. My husband decided to stay in the passport office and I left with my three kiddos to wait in the car. We waited and waited and waited. It seemed like an eternity.
At 3:30 PM, my husband sent me a text saying he had the passport in hand!
Step 10: Thank Those Who Helped You
I don’t know how we pulled this off, but we walked away with an updated passport and a sense of gratitude. We are thankful for our wonderful friends who jumped in to help, thankful for the understanding passport office representatives who could have and should have kicked our sorry asses out for not having an appointment and not having all the required information and photo, and we are thankful our kids behaved so well during such a stressful situation.
Step 11: Go On Vacation
We were able to leave on our 5:00 AM flight and travel to paradise because of kind and patient people in this world. We have had an unforgettable passport experience and have learned some valuable lessons – know when your passports are expiring, have hope, haul ass, don’t be a dick when you are the one who needs help, and be thankful.
Pura Vida from Costa Rica!
Some Other Fun Posts To Check Out:
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