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One of my constant worries about any trip is forgetting something. I hate packing because I’m afraid I will forget something important. My solution has been to over pack! Clothes, food, I hoard it all.

A friend of mine has a daughter who will be going on a four week humanitarian thing with her college roommates. Everything has to fit in a backpack. It makes my heart race to think about the strict restrictions. While she was talking about her daughter’s upcoming adventure, another friend seemed so nonchalant about it. She said she had gone on similar trips and she learned that she doesn’t need as much as she thought. I do.

It’s not just the excess of clothes and food I tend to pack. I could learn to get over that obsession.


It’s the medical stuff I have to take with me in order to stay alive. I can’t save space by skipping the glucometer and strips, the insulin, or the infusion sets and the reservoirs for my insulin pump. I just can’t. Those things take up a crazy amount of space too. The longer the trip the more I need.

I think my food problem stems from my diabetes. I don’t want to ever be without. Low blood sugar is a horrible feeling all on its own. Low blood sugar in public is that much worse. I want to be surrounded by food in those situations. So I have weird obsessive compulsions and pack too much food.

Heath did all the packing which was really nice. It also made me worried that he forgot something. Not likely since I was the go-fer. I gathered everything and he did his magic to make it fit in the luggage.

We left the house early on Friday May 8th in order to take kids to school. It was a little weird to have to go to school on the first day of our vacation. Parker “accidentally” left half his homework at school. I went with him while Heath took Gavin to school to drop off a check for the Track Banquet. We found out just before we left that the money was due while we would be gone and if we didn’t pay it by that day then we would have to pay double. So off to school he went to leave the money in the coach’s box.

There was a little bit of extra time before we really needed to leave for the airport so we went back home to pick up extra homework. The kids, mostly Gwen and Parker, gave us a hard time about getting homework done before we left. They got their homework on Thursday so they didn’t have much time to be excited and buckle down to work. They chose being excited over responsibility. We hesitated on how much to bring with us which is why we made the extra trip home to grab stuff that could easily be done at Legoland and Disneyland.

Heath bought the kids some cheap ear buds for the trip. The boys could play games on their Kindles during the flight. Gavin and I had a big argument over whether or not he should bring his. He was right that he shouldn’t bring it but he did for my sake. He only played games on his phone with the ear buds plugged in there. Gwen plugged her pink ear buds into a new MP3 player that Heath bought. He picked a cheap version in case anything happened.

Even then I felt sick realizing we left it somewhere. Heath and I were up till midnight packing bags to come home the next day. We had to be creative since we had a lot of souvenirs to bring home. Before we left Heath assured me there was enough space for extras to come home. But we bought some big sets from Legoland and the kids all had bought a lot of stuff with the money they earned for the trip. A quick trip to Target on Wednesday gave us the rain ponchos we would need and an extra bag to bring stuff home.

We didn’t do a thorough walk through of the room before we walked out the door forever. I was pretty confident we hadn’t left anything but the extra food we couldn’t eat or keep. We got in the rental car to head back to the airport. Gwen was all upset that she couldn’t find the MP3 player or her ear buds. We told her it must have been packed. Although I didn’t remember ever seeing it in Disneyland.

She was bummed she didn’t have any music for the flight home. She had her sketch pad and I managed to find her pencil. Still I was desperately trying to figure out what happened to the MP3 player. Did we leave it in Legoland? Please tell me we didn’t.

Getting out of our room in Legoland was rushed. Very rushed. Plus we heard rumors that Legoland is very strict about checking out on time. We packed up as much as we could Saturday night but we still had a lot going on Sunday morning. We dressed for breakfast then changed into dress clothes for church. We rushed out of church after Sacrament Meeting to get back to the room to finish packing up. The boys changed into regular clothes while the girls stayed in dresses for the day. We shoved things anywhere it would fit and booked it out the door.

Could the music still be in that overstimulating room? I really hoped not. I had the very edges of a memory of Gwen listening to her music in the car between Legoland and Disneyland. I just couldn’t be sure if I was making it up. We spent a lot of time in that rental car on crazy Southern California freeways.

When we got home we unpacked in record time. Partly because I didn’t want the mess to last as long as our trip. Partly because I was sick about losing the MP3 player. We never found it. The kids had left their knapsacks on the floor. I kept thinking I should look in there or at least put them away so they were off the floor. But I had personally dumped the contents of those bags on Thursday night to repack only with what they would need for an hour of rainy fun in California Adventure. The MP3 player was not part of that. I hadn’t seen it since we left Legoland. It was lost forever and I couldn’t get over it.

Last night I was extremely angry that Legoland had lost our digital pictures. That’s a whole other piquant story that I will tell later. I was convinced the MP3 player had been left in the room before we left Legoland. Since they have no qualms about their scam of a photopass card they must not care about contacting guests about stuff left behind after checkout. I was sure this was the case.

I mentioned my dream of a memory of Gwen listening to music between Legoland and Disneyland. Heath thought that sounded familiar enough to be true. Still what happened to the music? We didn’t check our Disneyland room really well before leaving because we had scoured that room Thursday night making sure we had everything packed. We spent a lot of time in the room Friday morning trying to dry out from the heavy rain. We were sure we hadn’t left anything important behind.

Heath suggested I check Gwen’s jacket. I learned she has no pockets in that jacket. The kids bags seemed to be audibly calling to me from the floor. In a last ditch effort to leave no stone unturned, regardless of how irrational the stone was, I grabbed the bags. Heath dumped Gwen’s bag on the floor. No music. I wasn’t surprised. I had dug in that bag enough on Friday flying home. Then I dumped Gavin’s bag on the floor. There was a large plastic Ziploc bag inside that I knew was in there. We started smooshing the contents around inside the plastic bag.

I saw pink ear buds.

My heart leapt as Heath dumped the bag and we sifted through the pile. He found the MP3 player. I could have cried I was so relieved. It wasn’t a big deal. He bought the cheap one fully planning on it getting lost or damaged. I just couldn’t accept losing it. The lesson should have been for Gwen but she didn’t care. I did.

I am so happy we found it! I went to sleep completely content that we hadn’t forgotten any items before or after the trip. And that is a beautiful feeling.