I’m behind schedule already! This really is a challenge. You can read the first part of this story here.
When I was in grad school, my sister spent a semester studying abroad in England. I had done this as a sophomore in college, too. So, when my parents decided to visit her, I jumped at the chance to tag along and revisit the city I loved so much. We had a wonderful time exploring together. One of the most beautiful places we visited was Blenheim Palace. It is a breathtaking estate where lots of movies have been filmed (Batman, Harry Potter, etc.), and it was once the home of Winston Churchill.
Now sometimes I get myself into predicaments that make me feel like my life is an episode of I Love Lucy. I could write an entire blog series on the topic of awkward situations that I’ve gotten myself into. While we were at Blenheim Palace, my mom, sister and I went to a restroom on the ground floor. I walked in last and the only unoccupied stall was the large one on the end with a heavy sliding door. It felt like rolling the stone in front of the entrance to a tomb when I closed it. When I attempted to leave the stall, the door wouldn’t budge. I tried everything. I called over Mom and Katie, and they tried to help me from the other side. We were unsuccessful. My mom went for help while Katie tried to sympathize with me. My dad and brother waited in the hallway, wondering what was going on. I believe my mom filled them in when she walked past with two handy men and reentered the ladies room. I paced as the two men worked for several minutes on the jammed door.
My mom joked that I had always wanted to live in a palace, and before we knew we were all laughing. It was that hard, bellyaching, teary-eyed kind of laughter that only happens when you’re truly tickled by something. And in that moment, laughing with my mom and sister and the handy men and a woman with a walkie talkie and whoever else happened to witness this situation, I felt pure joy. My mom and sister had walked with me through some difficult seasons. I was growing up, but I was still the goofy Kara that they knew and loved. I was fully present and able to laugh at myself with them. I was all at once a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I’m so thankful that these two women are now some of the first people I turn to when I’m making a tough decision or struggling with something. Their support means the world to me, and I love opportunities to encourage them as well. Sometimes, maybe we feel that our families know us too well, but I think they can be the best kind of friends. And now, in case you didn’t believe me about locking myself in the bathroom at Blenheim Palace, here’s a little photographic evidence…