It seems I have to learn this lesson at least once with every book I write:
The plot is not the story. The plot is simply (ha! nothing simple about plotting!) the device or vehicle that gets all the elements together so that the real story can happen.
The real story is the characters and relationships and growth that take place because of the plot.
I swear to god, I'm going to get that tattooed on the back of my hand where I can see it 139 times a day.