Spontaneous Combustion

Today is Caitlin’s 20th birthday. If you don’t know, Caitlin is my oldest child. During our recent vacation, she posted this hilarious article to her personal blog. I will say, this is the first time I’ve ever been called a “free-spirited hippie.” Flexible, yes. Spontaneous, yes. But never a “free-spirited hippie.” In the context of her story, it fits.

I know you will enjoy Caitlin’s humor. She keeps our family in stitches most of the time. She also delivers keen insights about life. As you read, do so with our monthly theme of faith and freedom in mind. Caitlin hits on several major issues we all struggle with, issues that can be obstacles to faith.

Read and enjoy, and then join the conversation by sharing times in your life when you’ve experienced “spontaneous combustion.”

Planning. A beautiful art that ensures events and activities go the way the “planner” intended, without any spontaneous interruptions. Spontaneity is the enemy. To enable my maximum enjoyment of a night out on the town, or a summer vacation, detailed planning must take place prior to the night before departure. With that being said, I categorize myself as one of those psycho women who have everything worked out…down to the second.

With my mother being a Southwest Airlines employee, our family is privileged with free flights all over the country. Being a college student in my early twenties on summer vacation, I took advantage of her benefits and made my way to Siesta Key beach. Of course, I had all the details of my trip worked out three days before my plane took off.

Just when I thought I was about to enjoy a nice relaxing week with my backside molded to a beach chair, I get a call from my mom explaining that after Florida, we’d be taking a trip through New England and eventually make our way up to New York! That was it. That one sentence was as far as they got. The flight and hotel information seemed to be obscure to them. “We’re just going to wing it”, she said.

Now, I’m not sure of my parents’ motives. I came to the conclusion that raising my anxiety levels to an 11 on a scale of 10 would be more fun for them to watch than actually going on a sight seeing vacay through New England. My brother and sister were all in. They were excited to embark on a spontaneous adventure. They all boarded the plane and left me hyperventilating into a brown paper bag in front of our gate.

I reluctantly got onto the aircraft and tried to get myself to relax. My breathing techniques were useless because the fear of not knowing what the next few days consisted of was taking over my brain.

We spent a day in Baltimore. Not expected. Then we traveled to Newport Rhode Island. Definitely not expected. When it finally came time make our way up to New York, the one part of the trip I allowed myself to be excited about, all the flights were booked. This is the karma that all these free spirited-non planning hippies deserve.

Of course, my mom is planning our next move at the airport. I have my brown paper bag handy. My brother saw a plane about to leave for Denver, Colorado at the gate right next to us and suggested we hop on and see what that city has to offer us. My worst nightmare. Once again, I’m convinced my parents agreed to it for the sole enjoyment of seeing the look of fear on my face. We boarded the plane exactly two minutes before it was supposed to take off.

So where are we now you might ask? Still on this four hour flight to Denver, with no plans. I’m squished between an elderly couple who keep asking me questions about my life. Can’t they see I’m in the middle of a huge crisis? The answer is no, they can’t because I’m sure they know where they are sleeping tonight, which is more than I can say for myself.

On the way to the bathroom I was informed that white water rafting and horse back riding are on the agenda while we are in Denver. Excuse me? How is this anywhere close to our classy New England tour? Normal people, like my brother and sister, would be excited about this news. Not me.

I sound crazy, I know. You’re probably thinking I need to suck up my controlling attitude and have a good time. You are right. I need to overcome my boring, detailed ways. This “vacation” is perfect practice. By the time I make my way home back to sweet Texas, I expect to be more like the hippies who, as my mom would say, “wing it”.

The captain just announced were landing in Denver. Wish me luck.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “Spontaneous Combustion

  1. Wonderful piece of writing, Caitlyn!
    Bob, you asked us to tell about a time when we experienced spontaneous combustion…
    Well, at the birth of our eldest, our whole life wound up being a spontaneous combustion. Never know what to expect with kids!
    Caitlyn–the vacation was very good practice! Life is like that lol. If it makes you feel any better, I, too, prefer a life of carefully planned out schedules. Could be why I enjoyed college so much.

  2. Caitlyn, you are a precious treasure….thanks for making my day! Have a special Birthday with your special family.

  3. “Wing it” was common in the house I grew up in … “life is an adventure” was more the motto.

    As an adult, the thought of having to ‘stick’ to any agenda is suffocating. 1’m curious about others that ‘clench’ so tightly to [their] plans and whom fall apart when they don’t pan out.

    My journey, my adventure, would have me lost without the direction and blessings 1 receive from Christ Jesus. My map is His word.

    “Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer” ….

    Thank you, Bob and Caitlin.

    • Hey Deborah, thanks for joining the conversation. Life is an adventure. Even more so is our walk of faith. The Lord is full of wonderful surprises for us.

  4. Excellent writing Caitlin! And hilarious, because we all can relate. I know that a great struggle of mine is to let go of control of my life–to the holy spirit.

    Thanks Caitlin and Bob for posting,
    Ted Loeffler

  5. Wonderful. What an enchanting child. (no offense intended
    At my age, everyone is a child.) She is delightful and full
    of life. She would be a fun traveling companion. I loved it!

    • Lucy, she has a great eye for seeing the world as it is and a deep curiosity about the “whys” of life. For a traveling companion, make sure everything is planned just so.

  6. Ted says, “It’s so hard to believe Caitlin is 20! I remember the day she was born!”

    They grown up so fast, don’t they? And they, (our kids) having taught us more about ourselves and life than we would have otherwise acquired, bring us enormous enjoyment through their so-doing.

    Listening to my children recall an event through their eyes or ‘play me through a particular situation’ makes my eyes water with a good belly-shaking laugh. Their keen insights often make you wonder just WHERE they passed us along the way, wisdom-wise!!!

    When Sophie gets going on my constant governmental conspiracy perusings and then and personifies me in a song on her guitar for my birthday present…well, let’s just say my eyes are squinted for days laughing at her interpretation of myself.

    Thanks so much for sharing Caitlin’s piece. What a great writer with the ability to laugh at herself while here on earth. A lovely family, you have. 8-}