To plan and afford a good trip is often difficult to arrange. Doing so after you've had a kid or two? Preposterous! Because of this, and since becoming a mother, I have been on exactly two trips involving flight--both of which were picked up by another person's tab.
Kids find a way to unpack your suitcase the moment your back is turned, and before you realize it, you don't know what you have and what remains. They do a similar trick with your wallet.
Ella's first night away from mommy was when she was nearly three years old. I took her sister across the map and landed in Grand Rapids. After 12 years of sad and difficult journey, my cousin Lara had at last given birth to her first child, Isabela. Lara's husband, James is a pediatrician who was working 70 hour weeks during the premature term of his daughter's delivery. That, paired with the recent move that the growing family had just accomplished, there was plenty to do. I was glad to help, but I still believe the experiences of family, the landscape, and our priceless discussions were a bigger help to me than I could ever have been to them.
The time before this was nearly three years ago to our Nation's Capital's neighbor: Bethesda. The Metro's were an odd hibernation from the near-perfect climate outdoors in August. It's hard to fathom that my older daughter wouldn't be able to remember even the most significant moments of our new adventure, let alone the minute details that still inhabit my mind today. There were three kids involved that likely remember nothing, two adults that I only assume remember maybe-something, and the remainder typing about it now.
We had every minute of every day accounted for and busy. Even if it was just to rest, to stand in the kitchen and banter, to toast frozen waffles with Trader Joe's cherry preserves, or to sit on the couch and drink, it was all within the confines of "a trip." It was our trip. Our time away from home, an experience that more than likely would never happen again -- and it didn't.
The beauty of having limited travel with kids, is that it's rarity makes it easier to appreciate the event. Think back to your most recent trip from home. Do you remember any of the cracks in the sidewalk? Your first sip of water off the bus? Every meal?
Sure, there are plenty of elements that can make a trip memorable--evolving relationships, losing your possessions, eating unbelievably strange cuisine. But in my experience, the rarity of young-parent travel gives you one more reason to never forget the minutia. It's yours -- and no matter what happens, nothing can ever take it away.