Earlier this month, Aaron, Nora and I took our first ever road trip as a family. Fittingly enough, we visited Laurel, her husband Adam, and their little hobbit Samwise. Nora has now left her home state and visited somewhere new.
It was totally spur of the moment, which may have been the only way we would have been able to do this. Over-planning would have killed us. And we learned… that it wasn’t that bad. We had moments of stress, for sure, but we also had moments of joy and fun. I learned a lot in this inaugural trip.
- It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. A five hour drive turned into a six and a half hour drive. I thought for sure we would spend ten hours for a five hour drive, so I feel like this is a win. Baby girl did a pretty good job with the long drive, as long as one of us was in the backseat, entertaining her with funny sounds, stories, and toys.
- It’s easy to over pack. Especially when one whole duffel bag contains cloth diapers.
- Another baby’s schedule may not sync up with your baby’s schedule. This was the hardest part about the trip. Nora is an early rising, late to bed type of baby. Samwise is a late rising, early to bed baby. They fed at different times. They napped at different times. At any point during the trip, one parent or the other was either feeding or sleeping a baby. Lucky enough, there was some time when Samwise and Nora got to actually interact, but it was relatively rare.
- Toys can be an everyday object. It was much harder to drive home than it was to drive to Laurel’s house, especially since we took an hour detour in the wrong direction to see another friend. (Crazy, but worth it.) Nora, on the way back, was not as excited about the car seat, even with the parent in the back. When we pulled over at a Subway for dinner, she had energy to burn. And she took it out on a closed bag of chips. There was something endlessly entertaining about the crinkly paper and the rattling contents inside. She shook that thing like a rag doll.
- Seeing friends in person is important. No matter how many emails, phone calls, and text messages you exchange with a friend (and there have been many these past few months), nothing beats seeing someone in the flesh. We got to hug each other’s babies, laugh, and chat in a way that was very important for me and Aaron. We were finally around people who knew what we were going through, because they were experiencing it themselves.
During the trip, we visited the Madison Children’s Museum, ate Indian food, visited rummage sales, and ate ridiculously good chocolate truffles. We watched baby-led weaning in action and got excited for our own (soon) experience with solid foods. We compared cloth diapers. Most importantly, we all relaxed around each other and I think, grew a little more centered in the process.
And now we know, we can leave the state and live to tell the tale.