Monday, July 27, 2009

Traveling Circus

My parents live far away. It takes at least 13 hours to drive from our home to their home. Well, it takes 13 hours for Alex and me. We come from the same road trip philosophy of “No Stopping!” and Constant Attention to Speed. We like to brag about how quickly we can make it to places and look for ways to shave time off of our travel time. It’s like a game.

Then I got pregnant.

We traveled over Christmas when I was 7 months pregnant. My doctor said we had to stop every 2 hours so I could get out and walk around. This would keep me from getting blood clots in my legs. And since neither one of us fancied the thought of my blood clotting, we dutifully stopped every 2 hours and I walked around and went to the bathroom and admired the various snacks and drinks available at gas stations these days. The trip went surprisingly fast despite our new stopping schedule. We figured we’d be okay when the baby came and we had to stop for changing and feeding and screaming-stopping. It was a nice practice run.

And we were right. We made the trek down to my parents’ house earlier this month. And we have mellowed considerably in our strict travel ideas and time games. We stopped when we needed to and spent as much time out of the car as necessary. We didn’t check the clock for how well we were doing. We didn’t (grossly) speed to make up for lost time. We broke the trip up into two days and it really wasn’t bad at all.

While we were in Louisiana, I realized how important it was for Jack to spend as much time as possible with my grandmother. She’s my last living grandparent and I love her dearly. In a word, she is awesome. Plus, my parents are SERIOUSLY INTO Jack. SERIOUSLY. They want to spend time with him NOW and then SOME MORE LATER. And I want them to spend lots of time with them too.

So I started to get the crazy notion that I wanted to come visit again. Soon. And that maybe I could drive back down! By myself! Next month! I knew it would take a while, but I thought that if I took my time and broke the trip into two days, it would be doable. Not very much FUN, mind you, but doable. (And provide excellent blog material!) After all, isn’t this an advantage of “staying at home” with Jack? Being able to go out and do things that work and school always stopped me from doing before?

I began making the plan in my head and casually mentioned it to Alex during Day 1 of our journey home. He seemed surprised that I wanted to undertake such a journey by myself. Well, his actual reaction was, “Really? Ok?” And that was it. But whatever. I took it as surprise in wanting to drive for two days with an infant.

And then Day 2 of our journey home began. Jack was basically inconsolable for most of the day. We had to stop every hour and a half to take him out of the car seat. He was done. Absolutely, positively DONE. No more. NO MORE. When we stopped and took him out of his seat, he was fine. FINE. But the second we strapped him back in the seat, he would go nuts. We spent a vast majority of the day trying to calm him. One of us rode in the backseat at all times to help entertain and soothe him. And then traffic stopped. We spent two hours on I-65 in Kentucky just sitting. Sitting and sitting and sitting. Alex took Jack out of the car seat and changed him. And fed him. And held him while he slept. I sat in the driver’s seat futilely trying to update my Facebook status. It was just miserable. What should have been an 8 hour trip became 11 ½. And while we have mellowed out a lot about making good travel time, that pushed us to our limits. Somewhere around hour 9, I said, “Well, maybe I’ll have to fly down instead.”

Last night, I pulled the trigger. I bought a plane ticket. In eighteen days, I will be flying to Louisiana. With Jack. Without Alex. Me and my “infant in arms” are going to become seasoned travelers.



Gina said...

yay! i miss jack too!

Mel said...

We did it. It's not so bad. Just keep telling yourself to be calm and flexible. You'll do great!