I took my daughter on her first trip when she was just 14 days old. Her Great-grandfather had died (on my ex’s side) and we had to go home for the funeral. Her dad was working as usual and that left me hauling bags and a baby halfway across the country by myself. If you’ve ever gone through childbirth, you know that 14 days is not enough time to get out of the dazed feeling that envelops you as a new mother. I’ll never forget it.
I started out with the enthusiasm and self-confidence of a bad-ass, all of which had faded by the time I got through check-in and security. I was running late and wanted to cry. I needed more hands. I jumped on the moving sidewalk, sweat dripping down my face, my body still sore from a natural birth. I was late. I needed to run. Oh holy hell!
Out of nowhere, a stranger appeared next to me. My struggling was hard to miss. He was also running. He asked me if I needed help. At least that’s what I think he said. Regardless, I handed my daughter to him tucked snuggly in her carrier and we took off running. I got to the gate just in time for boarding. God has always put the right people in my path.
I could feel the cautious glances from people as we boarded… wondering if this beautiful baby was a ticking time bomb of screams and shrieks. She wasn’t. She laughed and slept and wowed the crowd. She still has that effect on people.
Now, that baby is a teenager. I give her our tickets when we get to the airport and tell her to get us to the gate. She does. She can also find an Uber and the nearest Starbucks. Somehow I think if she can figure that out, she’ll be ok.
On this trip to New Haven Connecticut Sidney and I were walking around the Yale campus and I realized my time with her was short. As I snapped a selfie for her for ‘the gram’ (that’s Instagram, not grandma), it hit me that just a few years is all I have left before she flies the coop and finds her own life.
I’m glad we can spend some of that time traveling the country, eating the best pizza in the country (for real, that’s the designation at Pepe’s Pizza) and pasta down hidden alleys, hunting down history like the first hamburger (which is kinda like my mom used to make them!) and searching for adventure at every turn, including the Grove Street cemetery!
I also got to have lunch with my dear friend Keith Connors, one of the other good people that God has put in my path. Keith is a former boss turned friend. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip.
I have been blessed to have some amazing travel companions on this journey to visit 50 places I’ve never been the year I turn 50. But my daughter is my favorite person to travel with. Traveling with her gets us both out of our routines and our roles. Our conversation shifts and we see the world through each other’s eyes…
I’d go anywhere with her.