My husband and I booked tickets to go to Puerto Rico from Australia a month ago. It seemed like a good idea at the time because, since we were both going, we could share the baby duty for the 36 hour flight of my now 1 year old daughter Sienna.
That is why it was a baffling surprise to learn at the moment of boarding a plane from Sydney to Dallas that my hubby could not go because his visa to go to USA was declined. This all happened at the check-in, an hour before we were supposed to board the plane. We were shocked and the clerks were rushing us to make a decision so the plane could wait for us or leave…! It was a hard decision, probably because there were a couple of factors underlying the issue:
#1 I was going to have to do the baby duty all by myself on a 36+ hour trip.
#2 We were celebrating Sienna’s birthday with my whole family (50+ people) in 2 days.
#3 If I stay I could help Luke get things settled with the embassy: getting documents, printing things, writing emails (because he isn’t the most proficient using technology).
#4 Our suitcases had our clothe and shoes mixed. Since we were travelling together, why pack a suitcase each? We packed all our belongings together and my shoes and his pants on another suitcase. He ended up keeping the bag with my shoes, hence me wearing either thongs (Aussie slang for flip flops!) or black boots everywhere.
#5 The battery of both our iPods died, my computer ran out of battery when I was emailing the US embassy and Luke had left his iPhone at home… (my iPhone broke a few days before). I tried charging the computer at the airport but I only brought the US charger because I thought “Hey, it is such a short layover anyway… I won’t need the adaptor…!”.
#6 We had 5 minutes to make a decision!!
I said: “No! I won’t go!”
After asking again: “Yes… I have to!”
Then: “No, I can’t leave you…”
and finally a “YES”…
The Qantas ladies took our passports, our luggage, and started racing to get us in that flight while we rushed trying to settle Sienna, that was screaming her poor little lungs out in the outburst of stress, while I was getting Luke’s documents ready, trying to email people, telling his sister he wasn’t going to fly that day and then a quick goodbye!
In the haste, it didn’t really sink in until I started walking with the escort around the airport with Sienna in the front carrier, a backpack on my back, a heavy nappy bag on my left and the laptop on my right. Tears started to come, I was so nervous, stressed and embarrassed that I took so long to make a decision and now I had a whole plane just waiting for me!
I believe everyone saw me cry… So silly and funny now that I think about it. Haha! But since 2012, this was going to be the first time ever that I didn’t see Luke for more than a day! We were never, not once, a day apart. I knew I could do it, but I didn’t want to do it alone. I was sad to leave him behind.
Once on the plane, after a few cups of water and some tissues, they closed the plane right behind me and we took off. Sienna fell asleep straight away. I have never flown 16 hours with her but I thought I was prepared. The case ended up being that I was.
One’s full potential is never achieve by staying in your comfort zone. I remember thinking before the trip: “Good thing Luke is coming! I couldn’t imagine that 16 hour flight without him!”. Funny that saying this over and over again, even in an attitude of gratitude, made it happen. In the end of it all, I did it. Went on 4 planes, last two got delayed for 2 hours which made us get to our final destination, Puerto Rico at 2am.
The most challenging part of the whole ordeal was sincerely going to the toilet! I love that people were generous and played peek-a-boo with Sienna and some even offered to mind her but, as a solo, responsible parent, I felt I couldn’t leave her with anyone, so I did everything one handed.
It was challenging but doable. I traveled with my daughter, and met many other parents travelling with their kids. This is a generation of conscious parenting 🙂 were we love bringing our babies everywhere! I am young, have lots of energy and absolutely LOVE being a mother. No better time to travel with my little one than now! There is no reason why we shouldn’t do the things we love because we have kids.
Have you travelled with your kid/s? How was it? Comment bellow your experience 🙂