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On the road again

February 22, 2013

Well, consistency is obviously not my forte. Five posts in less than three weeks, and then nothing…

But here I am. Alida turned 9 and now 10 months old. I turned 32. We traveled to Florida and California and for a while we were just surviving. Now we are better than just surviving and that much happier for having gone through the valley.

At the end of January, Jonathan’s aunt, his father’s only living sibling, turned 95. We couldn’t make it for the exact date, but we were able to visit her a few days before. It was the first time I’d met a lot of that side of the family, and we had a really good time. It was fun to have extended family all sleeping under one roof, drinking coffee in our pajamas in the morning, and chatting late into the night. Those are the things you miss out on when you stay in hotels.

Alida also got to play at the beach for the first time. She’s put her toes in the sand before, but it was in San Diego in October and even the sand was too cold to enjoy. We went with her second cousins, a bunch of big girls (12, 10 and 8) and a tiny one, and tried to imagine what was going through her head as she watched the waves come and go. She didn’t like the water and started to cry when we put her in it, but it might have been a little cold. Once she got up on the sand, she started “helping” with a sandcastle and chasing seagulls. This seemed to be much more her style. Other than a slight disaster when she got tired and started rubbing her sand-covered hands in her eyes, it was a very good day.

 

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A few days later, we flew out to California to visit some of Jonathan’s family and friends. Most of them hadn’t seen Alida since she was a couple of months old, so we decided to take advantage of a lull in the schedule and go. Plus, we thought it would be fun to watch the 49ers play in the Super Bowl in 49ers’ country.

On the way to California, Jonathan was unable to make the same flight as us. Alida has gotten to the age where she never wants to hold still. These two factors combined to make that flight one of the most difficult and tiring things I’ve done since giving birth. I’ve told several people that since then, and like I would have pre-child, they ask why it’s so hard.

I could explain to you what it feels like physically to restrain a child who never wants to stay in the same position for more than 5 seconds (literally), who finds every light, window, button, ding, person, magazine, and announcement attention-worthy and sometimes edible, who believes you are a ladder to provide access to the people behind us, and who thinks the in-seat screen is a drum set that she should beat on constantly. I could explain that even if she is hours past nap time and hasn’t eaten all day, neither are as important as exploring everything and everyone. And that if I even dare think about *gasp* making her sit down and hold still (like any well-behaved child should, right?), she’ll start screaming and thrashing around. (Why don’t I train that child better??)

And, of course, to a parent, none of the shoulder, back, hip and arm aches of holding a spinning monkey for 5 hours (oh, and don’t forget when she accidentally bonks you in the nose with her head) are as important as not being the person on the plane with the screaming child.

I’ve heard these stories before and nodded my head in sympathy. “Yes, it must be so hard when all they want to do is move.” I’ve even been the flight attendant that is doing her best to keep the child from screaming “Here, have a biscoff/ empty water bottle/ plastic cup/ ID badge/ my soul.” But, I never really got it until I did it. That’s one more thing I can add to the oh-so-delightful “I know how you feel because unfortunately I’ve been there” list.

It was a great trip though. Alida got to hang out with some more “big” cousins, and I got to enjoy wine country. The 49ers didn’t win, but the Super Bowl party was still fun. Traveling pains aside, I’m glad we went. I want to make sure Jonathan’s friends and family are always a part of Alida’s memories. Plus, I was due for some In-N-Out :-)

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