Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Downside of Firsts

Ed: Holy hell, I'm late posting this.

Nothing like another trip to the Northeast to remind me how much I hate living here. As always, traveling is beyond a hassle and ridiculously more stressful than I feel like in a dream world it needs to be. Yet, our reality is this.

Q: How annoying could it be?
A: Annoying.

Need proof?

Example 1:
It's been snowing, all the time. Of course the one weekend it's going to stop snowing here, there is a ridiculous storm named "Nemo" that we are trying to fly into. Our flight was canceled, so our plans for Friday - Saturday got canceled. That sucked. We tried to make the most of our (short) time. This is hard, when there isn't enough time. See vicious cycle.

Example 2:
The baby? Shock & surprise is not a fan of the flying.  On the way to New York she was 90% fine on the plane. The issue being that while 10% seems like a smaller percentage, that 10% was HARD. She wants to walk around, get around, not sit. Ever. And take a nap on the flight? HA. On the way home, it.was.horrid. The percentages switched and 90% of the time she was crying. It wasn't awesome.

One of the major issue with traveling, beyond traveling, is the disruption of the kids' schedule. Sleep is a commodity high in demand, low in supply. Naps are difficult to impossible. It takes a toll on them, it takes a toll on me. A day here or there is one thing, but these trips tend to be on the longer side and every day counts. JJ didn't sleep on the flight and we thought maybe that aggravation will have a pay off by her falling asleep on the 2 hour drive from the airport to our first stop. You know what sucks about being wrong? Being SO wrong. Like almost 2 hours of screaming and crying, wrong. Oh what's that? You've reached your final destination, only to get back into the car?

Q: Can it every be easy?
A: No.

Example 3:
Then this happened. Just when I think I can't possibly be more tired, frustrated, or hating traveling (it had only been 9 hours since we left our house at this point) this happens: my dearest of all husbands who is, by the way, in most circles the best of the very best suggests the following to me: our baby spend her night in a dog crate. 

Q: What's that? Are you reading this right?
A: Yes, you are.

Beyond traveling with two small children, taking time off work, figuring out what to do with the dog, packing up a life's worth of clothes but leaving enough room for all the generosity that awaits us, don't forget: diapers, wipes, cups, bottles, snacks, enough toys & distractions but not too many. Oh wait, forget what we are bringing. What are we going to? We don't have our bed - for our sake - and sometimes we don't have a place to put the baby. It's a constant question & issue. Sometimes hotels solve that, sometimes they don't. Sometimes we go places where a crib is available, but it's never the same. This particular night, we realize (late, because for whatever reason the aforementioned love my life didn't work it out as I specifically asked him to) we don't have a place to physically put the beast. She can't be in a bed without one of us. I figure, at this point, we'll split up. Take a kid each in the beds available.  His solution? He asks his sister if she still has a pack & play. She says, yes & no. They have one, but they use it for the puppy now that they don't need it (their youngest is 3 years old). My husband's solution? Take a look (actually, it was a smell) at the mattress of the pack and play and honestly ask the question: "Do you think it would be okay if we put JJ in the pack and play ..." he followed it with some kind of 'thinking outside the dog crate box' ideas like putting sofa pillows inside the now dog create. It's hard to say what happened after that because I had a break in reality and blacked out in rage. Needless to say, the baby didn't sleep in the dog pen.

Funny aside, in chatting about the 'incident' he followed it up with, "You were right." Like I didn't know that. Put my baby in a dog create. Humph.

Example 4:
When we do have the 'joy' of getting to sleep with our babies, specifically the littlest one. She sleeps on my head, like a cat. I hate cats.

Example 5:
'Fun' family quotes:
  • Upon arriving late to Nana Lu's house because we stopped by a friend's house on the way, "What'd ya get lost?"
  • In seeing JJ had a war wound on her face & L almost stubbed her toe off, "Is that why it took so long? You had to make sure both kids got hurt, before coming?"
  • About my dislike for where we live, "I hate that you're miserable, but in the back of my head - it does make me feel better." 
We are both the children of families who have, by all accounts, always lived close to each other. At one time or another both of our parents do live or have lived within walking distance to their parents.  At most they are 1 1/2 - 2 hours away from their parents and children. We are a phenomenon.

You know the pride a parent probably feels when there is the "first to go to college" or the "first successful" kid in the family? We are the polar opposite. There has to be some pride that goes into having a son or daughter who are doing well within their career and have a happy & healthy family - but we are the "first plane ride away" kid. I don't know if that can be a source of happiness. Our babies will have parents who get it. We, however, do not.  We are our family's first. No one (including us) know how to work it out 100% effectively. We're still struggling to find the balance. The limited time we (and our babies) get to spend with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins takes away from the other. And don't even get me started on the fact that our babies have 4 great-grandmothers that they rarely (if ever) get to see. It's a gift they have, that we somehow can't seem to give them. Beyond the balance between our shared extended family, there are friends we miss and don't get to see. Friends, which by all accounts, are near impossible to find.

It's hard to be a trailblazer*, yo. 

*Alternative perhaps the darker side of descriptive words: the first, the only, alone.

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