“Endings are sad, aren’t they?”
~ Jeanne Birdsall,
A few weeks back, I hopped on a plane with four kids and flew to Minnesota. I will admit, I was a tad anxious to travel as a solo parent, but I set my expectations low and put on a smile knowing our first stop was the dreaded Toronto airport. We made it safely, got through customs and had five hours to burn in the travel club. Five hours is a long time, but I would much rather have more time than less when flying internationally.
Sophie, Elsa and Soren have always been stellar travel companions and I can happily say Ellinor has joined our elite travel club. She barely napped, but was content and calm. This is a big win in my book. I may have had a baby crawling on me for 10 hours, but I will take that any day over a screaming child who is trying to escape the plane.
We landed in Minnesota and Elsa declared, “well, that wasn’t so bad!” A few strangers even offered their congratulations and marveled at the ability to travel alone with four kids. We did it.
My parents and nephews greeted us at the airport. I shed a few tears and a sigh of relief. This is mostly because of how elated the kids were to see each other (especially Owen and Soren), but also because I was exhausted and thankful the travel day was over.
We spent two weeks in Minnesota and most of our time was focused on the kids and what they wanted to do. Time with cousins is paramount.
As I look back at our trip, it seems like a blur, probably because I spent 14 days holding Ellinor. Her world is five people and the excitement, noise and strangeness of extended family was not her thing. She loves people and being social, just so long as I am within arms reach. She did eventually warm up, especially if you feed her ice cream or snow cones.
Here are some highlights although it’s tough to limit it to just a few photos.
During the trip, my cousin Brian married Shelby. Elsa had the honour of being flower girl in the wedding. She did a wonderful job and helped her cousin Addy get down the aisle.
My cousins are great friends, so seeing our kids pal around at the wedding and take ridiculous photos in the photo booth was something I will hold dearly.
Sophie, Elsa and I managed a trip to the Mall of America where we met my best friend Alisha for six hours of shopping and a delicious lunch. Aside from this, I wasn’t able to connect with any of our friends, which was disappointing, but inevitable given the amount of time we wanted to spend with our families. When there is a chance you will only get to see some of your family once a year, you go all in. Maybe next time we will visit for a month.
Saying goodbye at the airport was tough…especially at 4:30am. Thankfully, Parker was flying back with us so it made the long travel day a little less miserable. Everything went well and we arrived home, immediately checking on our garden. Apparently when we were gone, it decided to grow like crazy.
We harvested peas, carrots, beets, kale and lettuce.
The hardest part of coming back from a long trip filled with family is the first morning. Usually I wake up disoriented, wondering where I am and then the loneliness sets in. The kids wake up mopey and we miss the presence of people we saw every day. It takes awhile to get in a rhythm both emotionally and physically. It’s going on four days back and the kids are staying up way too late and sleeping until 10 am. On Thursday, Ellinor went to bed at midnight.
The most daunting thing for me is knowing I have half the summer left to occupy our time. I know that sounds dramatic but this is the time I miss our summers in San Diego. Our days were filled with friends, sleepovers, beach days, camps, hanging in our neighbourhood and fun evenings out. Our calendar is remarkably empty.
Finally, I’m thankful for everyone that has been reading and enjoying my blog. I received lots of positive feedback, the greatest being that you can hear my voice when I write. For a reader and writer like myself, that is an endearing compliment. Totes preesh…
Oh, and I can’t forget…hey Brenda Reinholtz! Brenda is an enthusiastic supporter, so I promised a shoutout! 😆