Do you know how easy it is to travel without a small child? I had no idea how easy it was until this weekend. Wow. I can't believe I ever complained about travel when I was childless. What on earth was there to complain about? Having a whole seat to myself? Having two hands to eat or drink with? Having too much trouble deciding which fluffy magazine to read?
As you all know by now, I hadn't gone anywhere without William in tow since he was born. That didn't keep me grounded, though. I think he and I took at least seven long flights during his first year or so of life.
So I've flown back and forth across the country with an array of diaper bags, overstuffed with snacks, treats, extra diapers and clothes, toys, books, and God knows what else. I've teetered along through miles of concourses, balancing car seats and strollers and luggage and my purse and oh yes, the baby. I've held a squirmy baby with one hand while removing my shoes and putting all my paraphernalia through the x-ray machine at the airport with the other hand, and I've changed a baby on a mat balanced precariously on the toilet lid in an airplane bathroom while the airplane shuddered through unexpected turbulence. I've collapsed a stroller while also holding said baby and trying not to get knocked over by a swarm of impatient fellow fliers bumping past me as they tried to get onto the plane. I've wrestled a huge car seat into a tiny little airplane seat while trying not to hold everyone else up as they entered the plane. And yes, I've sobbed to a gate attendant when she delivered the bad news that I was stranded in Dallas overnight with my fourteen-month-old and no luggage.
In short, I know what it's like to fly with a baby. I know all too well. And can I just say how glorious it was to fly to Houston and back with my husband and NOT have to deal with any of those scenarios?
I had one little tiny carryon bag, filled with three books (all mine!), a bag of Craisins, my cell phone charger and my camera. We checked one suitcase, filled with adult clothes and toiletries. David carried on his laptop. There were no sippy cups, no jars of baby oatmeal, no plastic key rings, no copies of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," no diapers, no binkies, nada. I read Jhumpa Lahiri's new book and drank a Diet Coke on the plane. I even...gasp!...took a short nap! Neither of us could get over how easy the trip was going. I kept wondering what I'd forgotten.
At the hotel, David went off to rehearse with the other Tigertones, while I found a vacant lounge chair by the side of the pool. I read my book and The New York Times and thought about how lazy I was. Then I met up with David and we split a mai tai by the side of the pool. Later, of course, we went to the wedding and reception. This morning, I slept late. Frankly, that alone made the trip worthwhile. Then we had brunch with the bride and groom--eggs benedict for the good doctor and pancakes for me, which is just about the perfect meal for both of us--and then we departed for the airport.
Yes, we called home a few times. No, William didn't seem to be missing us in the least. He was too busy having fun soaking up all the attention of his doting grandparents. Which left David and me free to not feel guilty about leaving him behind while we sipped champagne after the ceremony or ate steak and wedding cake at the reception. (I did talk about him a lot, though.)
In fact, here we are after five hours of eating and drinking and generally making merry:
We had such a nice time, although it went by far too quickly. But I have to admit: I was eager to see William again. When we pulled up to the house, Diane was holding him in her arms out in the front yard, and he broke into a huge grin when he saw us. And so did I.
And I've decided that I'm still not going to fly anywhere with him for a long time. Not until he's at least old enough to carry all his own stuff.