We just got back from our first road trip with the baby. He was a champion! But we were so nervous. When we found out that our dearest friends had experienced an unexpected death in the family, we immediately knew that we wanted to be there for them and with them at the memorial, which was in San Diego. We made our travel plans, agonized over hotels (mostly because agonizing over hotels is kind of fun for me), asked for travel advice, and hoped for the best. And it was a great trip. We were so happy to be there for the beautiful memorial and reception. There were tears, but there was laughter too. And I am so glad for that. A lot of the laughter was caused by…our foibles. Which I shall detail here before I forget them. We planned to head out on Thursday morning, no later than 9, in order to get to the memorial at 1 in plenty of time, hopefully with time for a quick lunch. San Diego looks deceptively close on the map, but there is that little thing called traffic, so we wanted to be on the safe side. Google maps predicted it would take about 2.5 hours, but we knew it would be closer to 3. And so, I got up with the baby at 7 and called my mom, as I do every day. She asked what time we were leaving, and when I told her, she suggested that I wake Eric up. Ahahaha, moms always know best. It took us a full hour and a half to get all packed up and ready to go. Thanks, mom!
Our poor little darling was screaming even before we made it to the freeway, but I fed him, and he fell asleep. Victory! There were a few periods of crying, but in general, he napped and played with his toys (we bought him three new toys for the road, but he liked his hands better than any of them). Things were going swimmingly as we flew down I-15 past Temecula and the turn-off to go to Palomar. I know this road so well. Someone was getting fussy, so I started making him a bottle. I pre-filled the bottles with water and then just scooped the formula in. Only…I dropped the canister. And before I knew it, this had happened:
Ahahahaha! It wasn’t exactly funny in the moment (that stuff is pricey!), but Eric was so reassuring that it wasn’t a big deal, and at least it was only halfway full. And that, my friends, is how I rode through Southern California with my foot buried by a mountain of formula.
We stopped in Escondido for a bathroom break and to buy more formula, and we were laughing hysterically by the time we got out of the car. I used my flip flop to scoop the formula out as best I could, and proudly strode through Target with little pads of formula stuck to my feet. Eric was wearing his suit pants with a t-shirt to save time, and we thought we made quite the pair. There was quite the little explosion next to our car, and I was a little nervous, truth be told, to be so close to the border with this much white powder covering the floor of my car. But officer, can’t you smell the iron?! In any case, when we pulled out, we drove right over a huge pile of formula, and it crunched. And we died laughing.
We made it to San Diego and stopped for lunch at the nicest cafe, where they did not mind at all when I made five trips to the bathroom to change the baby and myself and then forgot the burp cloth (vital instrument!) We made it to the service right on time, and it was just beautiful. It meant so much to us to be there with our precious friends.
Our little one was a darling at both the service and the reception. He is not (knock on wood) a big screamer, so I don’t know what I was so afraid of. Generally, his favorite thing in the world is being held, and there were so many loving arms waiting to hold him.
We stayed as long as we thought we could, and then we headed back to the hotel to get him to bed. AND HE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! For the first time ever! Apparently, all we have to do is take him out of town and wear him out. Lesson learned! Eric and I actually woke up before he did, and we lay in bed staring at each other with our mouths agape. Did that really just happen?! We actually had to wake him up so he wouldn’t eschew all napping in the car on the way home. The hotel had a little breakfast, which was very handy, and there was a little walk-up coffee bar across the street. I showed up at 6:30 on the dot in a sundress and Eric’s fleece jacket, with nothing more than a hotel key and a $5 bill in my pocket. That coffee, it was so good. The baby and his daddy took a nap while mommy read a book (Read a book?! What a fantasy!), and then we checked out and met our sweet friends for breakfast.
We stopped by the San Diego Mission on the way home, and it was beautiful. Eric and I have loved visiting them together. It was hot, and the baby was pretty fussy, but it was okay. He sort of had a meltdown in the gift shop while we were buying a little cross for his room, but it was okay. He cried in the church while a small group of people was praying the rosary at the altar, but it was okay. Our stroller squeaked its way up to the little chapel, where, unbeknownst to us, people were praying during adoration, but it was okay. We didn’t see as much of the mission or take as much time as we might have if we had been by ourselves, but it was okay. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
We lit a candle in the church and prayed in thanksgiving for our sweet boy, the best thing that’s ever happened to us. It was so special to be able to do that because we lit candles in churches all over Greece and New Mexico and California while we were hoping to get pregnant and when we were expecting our little one. And I was able to sneak into the chapel for just a few minutes and pray a mother’s prayer: thanking God for my family and for the safety of our trip and for all the sleepless happiness that fills my days. The word that kept coming to my mind was joy. Joy indeed.
We had a safe trip home, stopping on the way at the most awesome bulk grocery store. We were exhausted, and it took us almost as long to unload as it did to pack up, but what a wonderful way to spend our time. And so, we were nervous, but we were brave. And we had such a good trip. It would have been okay even if it had been a disaster, as long as I still have this sweet one to cuddle up with and his daddy to laugh at all the mishaps with. I am so glad we went. Travel is such a great love of mine, and Eric and I always took a handful of little weekend trips together every year before our baby was born. It was so sweet to get over this hump, as it were, and realize that this is still a possibility. I think, really, it’s the unknown that’s the scariest thing. But now I know that we can do it. I started planning our next trip before we had even unpacked from this one. It’s a beautiful world, and I’m so happy I have one more precious person to explore it with.