As of this morning we are blissfully home from vacation.
I’m nearing three years as a Mama and I think it’s safe to say that traveling with small children isn’t my thing. Although saying it out loud reveals me as the bore of a homebody that I actually am, I didn’t find travel all that exciting before kids. It’s not that I’m opposed to new things or different ideas or unfamiliar ways of being, it’s just that I much prefer to read about those things. Preferably while wearing loungewear and tucked in a cozy chair.
Travel, particularly to big cities, involves all sorts of things that get me discombobulated. Things like hordes of people and huge, unfamiliar roads and bathtubs and bed linens that I have not personally cleaned. I imagine that this is part of the charm of travel for the well-adjusted, but these charms are lost on me.
Travel with small children is just harrowing. There is no more honest way to characterize the experience. The wide lens offers nothing but chaos and disorder. Most of this chaos springs from:
- The aftermath of nap deprivation – Watching your lovely toddler throw every snack he can get his hands on out of the cold case at Starbucks while shouting “No Mommy! No Mommy!” at the top of his voice. All we wanted was a little coffee….
- The yuck of unfamiliar places – Monkey crawling through the airport at brake-neck speed, pausing only long enough to grab the nastiest morsels from the floor and shove them into his mouth.
- The continuing yuck – Bathing two boys in a tub that is either very old or quite dirty or perhaps both. These baths always seem to take place about 10 minutes too late (they seemed so normal until we got in the tub)
- The We’re Not at our House and We Are NOT Tired!!! bedtime drama
- The impossibility of a relaxing dinner out when your youngest is committed to the removal of the tablecloth and your oldest believes that each new slice of pizza/bread/whatever requires its own plate
- The truth – Dirt and sticks are more compelling than any experience that adults can plan and prepare and pay for
But… nestled within all of that crazy there are moments. Much too fleeting and often sparse, they are always there. Always. My work is in noticing them. Focusing my attention on their little glimmering lights.
- After many overly enunciated descriptions of our travel plans, Yogi continues to be enthusiastic about our travel in Washington de Sea.
- Earnest Monkey pushing a strollered and giggling Yogi around the airport security area. The boy isn’t walking, but he sure is pushing with gusto.
- The boys meeting their only living great-grandparent. Man was she smitten.
- Yogi chasing me through the terminal chanting “Let’s go little Mama! Let’s go little Mama!”
- The joy of Monkey’s first carousel ride. He grabbed the pole and hung on with the biggest, brightest smile. No fear for the little Monk.
- Crammed into a tiny corner of the Metro, Yogi whispers “This is my family.”