There is No Education Like Adversity*

Last Friday, on our way home from vacation, my dad’s van decided to act up (and by act up, I mean smoke violently).

After 6 days of beaching it up, we were barely into our 11 hour trip home when suddenly, we were stranded on a highway right outside of Maxton, NC.

I should explain that this vacation was the first big “family” vacation with my two children (Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Ian), my boyfriend (Admiral Bodee) and his two children (Delilah and Captain Kidd). I should also say that the week was what we considered a “make or break” situation. Fortunately, we had an absolutely wonderful trip and felt we made leaps and bounds in our relationship. (Whew!)

So, again, imagine four kids – ages 9, 11, 12, and almost 13 in a van, on the side of the highway, in the middle of an 85 degree afternoon, 10 hours from home.

Imagine two adults, both teachers, both single parents, both tired in this situation. Two adults who have dealt with drama and stress both in the classroom and at home, but who haven’t dealt with any “catastrophes” together. For the record, I know, things could have been so much worse and we were thankful it wasn’t, but this was still a big problem and a huge test of how well we could work together.

Long story short, (because it took 4 hours to fix the car and be on our way), as we were chugging/smoking into this tiny town unlike anywhere we’d ever been or want to be again, Admiral Bodee says to a van full of cranky and apprehensive children, “They say that the true test of a person’s character is how they handle adversity.”

In a moment of total chaos and silent panic, my heart gushed. Here was a man driving his girlfriend’s dad’s smoking van, keeping it together and doing what had to be done to keep everyone safe and calm.

There are many hilarious, scary, crazy details about this adventure, and I have preserved them on film and recorded them in my mind.

Fortunately, after a dinner of Lunchables, applesauce, and granola bars in Walgreen’s parking lot, a game of junkyard football, a photo shoot in a pile of old tires, and a flash-before-your-eyes 65 mph ride on an old country road with one scary dude, the damage was only $50.

Yes, a $50 repair bill, for a tiny little garage that worked three hours overtime on a Friday night. I should add that Admiral Bodee ended up giving him $80. A $30 tip seemed totally reasonable after all their help.

As stressful as this situation was, we will never forget the adventure, which is what vacations are all about!

Enjoy this “Wish You Were Here” postcard like pic and take these lessons with you:

  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
  • Find humor in all things.
  • There is safety in numbers.
  • Teamwork pays off.
  • Keep calm and carry on.
  • Be prepared.
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Give to those in need and you will be richly rewarded.
  • Respond, don’t react.
  • Use the restroom when given the opportunity; You never know the next time you will come across a clean one.


*The title of this post comes from Benjamin Disraeli.

2 responses

  1. Ohhhh Myyyy…. I love this!! I can picture it. I also am going to “borrow” the lessons listed. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder in the small things we sometimes overlook.

    1. Thanks for reading! My daughter laughed when she read the list, especially the last one. I think it made her think about the whole experience in a different light. I might make something to hang up in our house with those lessons.

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