May 31, 2013

what a long, wonderful trip it was

We just spent five days and nights in southern California, visiting friends and family (I grew up there). I think this was an excellent study in reality vs. fear of the unknown. I’m always afraid the worst will happen when we travel or do something out of the ordinary, and I’m almost always pleasantly surprised and feel a bit silly for worrying so much. Almost.

I booked our trip months in advance – at first it was seven nights, but after a couple of months I had a crisis of conscience (I knew we’d be sleeping in a double bed and sharing the small bedroom with the boy), and reduced our stay to five nights. Boy am I glad I did – my son came down with an ear infection and we were in the doctor’s office on the day when we were originally scheduled to leave.

Then I worried about where my son would sleep. I found a service online that rents everything you can think of to make your baby or toddler comfortable – so I booked a crib and a changing table (since Junior is fond of flipping around like a fish out of water during changing times). I booked a rental car and a car seat so we wouldn’t be burdened with carrying it around the airport.

All I can say is, holy shit it’s expensive to travel with a little one. But they aren’t little for long. Next time I think I’ll bite the bullet and haul the car seat with us to save $65. That thing was definitely road-tested and I don’t think he was very comfortable in it.

Teething was another issue. He’s breaking in the last lower canine, and I had forgotten to pack teething gel or something to chew on. I did, however, have plenty of baby ibuprofen on hand which saved our sanity. Good thing they have stores in CA.

Despite the teething, expenses, and ear infection we had to deal with, we had a wonderful time. The boy slept great for the most part (we kind of ignored him when he started babbling at 5 a.m.), and we spent our days watching him soak up the generous affection of grandparents, cousins, and other relatives that took to him as quickly as he took to them. It was a beautiful thing, really.

One of the highlights was introducing him to his cousin who was born through the miracle of IUI about 12 hours before him. Seeing those boys together felt like a dream, like God was just beaming a big smile on our whole family and laughing at their antics along with us. (Until I told my aunt and uncle we were pregnant, we had no idea their son and his wife had endured infertility issues - imagine our shock in realizing our somewhat parallel journeys to parenthood!)

Like all trips, we were grateful to get home and everyone went to bed early that evening. And, like all time spent with family, we felt the pang that comes with the understanding that we all live so scattered from each other (except for my mom, and we thank God every day she’s here). The good thing is, we’re all about a two-hour plane ride from each other so it’s not too hard to book a visit.

Now we just need a big enough house to give them an incentive to come see us.

The day before we left, my stepmom gently asked if we’d be having another baby (can’t blame her for hoping). I affectionately looked my dad in the eye and said “There isn’t enough wine or coffee in the world, Dad. Sorry.” We honestly think we’re just too freaking old – starting a family after 40 is really, really, REALLY tiring – instead, we’re packing our son’s life (and ours) with playdates, church friends, and a really great daycare that we hope will become his school later on.  And, when he’s potty trained, probably a dog.

Here's one of my favorite photos taken on the trip. We went for a walk in a park surrounded by old oak trees, and he's wearing a t-shirt with a cape that the grandfolks bought him - it's so cute I can't stand it! There's something so adorable about this shot, something about boyhood and fatherhood that I can't quite put my finger on. I love it.