Hello from Seattle! That sounds a lot more enthusiastic than I actually feel. Yesterday we left around noon to start the trek to England, and today finds us one bus trip, one train trip and a few cab rides further. Read that as: I’m exhausted. And the real journey hasn’t even begun yet.
Matt and I just laid the kids down for a nap, and as we darted down the ugly red and gold gaudy carpet to grab some tea with a little more pep in our step, I noted that it’s just so much easier with only the two of us. And that’s an understatement. We spent the morning doing some shopping (Target!) for some winter clothes that the kids needed and I told him that I wished I was able to enjoy trips and outings more, but more often than not I find myself frustrated and anxious that one of the kids will have a meltdown any minute. I worry that Theo will get tired of the stroller or that Ev will be bored and tired and hungry going from shop to shop. Even as I write that, I know it sounds ridiculous. Of course they’ll be fine. Yea, they might be bored but hey, at least they are getting clothes out of the deal; Matt and I are stuck window shopping while the kids whine and complain as we buy stuff for them.
Imagine this trip was only Matt and I? It’d be, in all honesty, heavenly. But when I see their little faces and how much fun they are having (when we are not schlepping them around in a cushioned chair on wheels), it makes me so glad that they get to experience a trip like this at such a young age. Besides, I think if we showed up at my in laws house sans the kids there would be some major disappointment.
The last few months have been…hard. Matt and I are realizing just how much extra work and strain having two young kids puts on our relationship. Traveling with them is no exception. But the little snippets of alone time that we get, like walking down the hall for tea or sitting in front of the hotel fireplace, reminds me of all the overtime we got to do this pre-kids and how easy we had it. It also helps remind me that yea, we do have things in common besides our biological fruit and that our marriage is worth work. Because like it or not, that’s exactly what it requires. But the reapings will be sweet. And hard as it might be, they are worth every moment of work, too. More than worth it. Much the same, traveling is so worth it, too. And in this case, we get twice the rewards by getting the experience of travel coupled with seeing our family. For the past few weeks we’ve been talking about Grandma and Grandpa and Keiser and Aunt Danni and Cousin Frankie and Seattle and planes and pools and adventures…she’s been asking me about 18 times a day if this was the day we are going to Seattle, then breaking into tears each time I told her it’s so many days away. She wants to explore and see snow in England and go to parks and take Kaiser for walks. She jumped on the white hotel bed in complete excitement that this whole big bed belonged to her. She sang rain, rain go away in the taxi and won’t stop jabbering about going swimming in the hotel pool. It’s fun to see her having such a fun time. Theo is loving eating chicken fingers and running down hallways and telling me to shhhh! as well, but he may as well be on the moon. As long as he’s fed and slept and entertained a bit, I don’t think he cares where we are.
Which, at the moment for him, includes complete darkness and probably dreams of trucks and tractors in the hotel room while the rest of us hang out in the lounge. Remember that nap time I mentioned? Matt and I thought we had a few hours to relax but decided we should probably check on them just to be sure. Matt let me finish my chai latte while he peeked in on them, but instead found the door handle being fumbled with as he tried to open it. Naturally he thought it was Ev, since Theo is in a crib. However, they decided to hatch an escape plan which included every pillow in the hotel room being heisted into the crib so Theo could make his escape up the white mountain and onto the bed and down to the floor to cause trouble. Thus Theo greeted Matt at the door. Apparently he was scared, or so Evelyn tells me, so that’s why he needed out of the crib. So, now Ev watches Netflix, Matt does the USA Today crossword and I sit here writing. I guess it’s a lot easier to sleep when you have no one chucking pillows at you.
Nap or no naps, I’m hoping to use today as a practice round. I’m hoping I can laugh instead of fume inside when something doesn’t go my way while traveling, or the next time one of us doesn’t double check where the hotel shuttle is supposed to pick us up from and we end up waiting an extra half hour only to pay for a cab (I’m not still annoyed about that). Regardless, time still goes on. Eventually that cab got us, eventually they will sleep, eventually it will be 8:15 Saturday morning in Amsterdam, and eventually our plane’s wheels will touch the runway in Birmingham and we will be at our destination. There are always hiccups along the way, but I don’t want to let that take away from the experience. It’s easy for me to live in the past, missing what was, or to wish for the future, hoping to bypass by all the hiccups, but what’s life without hiccups? The hiccups are usually what make the stories.