Monday, April 28, 2014

Parenthood: Week 48 – The Wedding: Part 1 --> Getting There

Diana and I have been on a lot of crazy adventures with Ollie. We’ve chosen to do things that are difficult for Ollie and us. There’s been the plane flights, long car rides, and other situations that have really tested our ability to operate as a family. Taking Ollie to my cousin’s is one of the more ridiculous adventures that we have shared with Ollie.
My cousin was getting married in Dallas. We live in Chicago, so we there was a plane ride. We’ve done longer ones to visit my parents in Seattle. However when we got to Seattle, we stayed at my parents house which is perfectly set-up for Ollie. In Dallas, we would be staying in a hotel room. Also we would not be on our own schedule but the schedule of a wedding weekend, which doesn’t really work for babies.

Planning for this trip was a whole different challenge. My parents made it so easy for us to come visit. They bought diapers, have plenty of extra clothing and are around all the time to take care of Ollie whenever we need a break. When I’m staying with my parents, the two-person partnership between me and Diana expands to include my parents.

We had to pack for Ollie much more carefully. One way we dealt with this was deciding to rent a car so that we could make grocery and drug store runs, which we did almost every day we were there.

Next was the car seat. We used my niece’s car seat in Seattle, so what were we going to do in Dallas? We calculated how much stuff we would need carry through the airport and could not easily imagine also carrying a car seat. So we decided to rent one through the rental car company.

If you do an internet search for car seat rentals through rental car companies the horror stories will frighten you. You get the impression that the only thing that is available is a puke-covered, outdated and damaged seat that will permanently cripple your child if he simply looks at it. I decided a long time ago, that I wouldn’t let the internet scare me out of doing what seemed reasonable so decided to rent a car seat.

The airport drama getting to Dallas was annoying but nothing out of the ordinary. The last four times we flew with Ollie, Buffy was with us too, so in some ways this trip felt easier. It’s not that Buffy does anything in the airport that causes stress, but she is another part of our family to worry about, which for me can be very taxing.

The rental care was fine, but the car seat was an issue. I got it latched in but it wouldn’t tighten. I went back and switched with a brand new one and after what was close to an hour of trying, we finally got it in there. Tip: pull across, not straight up to tighten the strap.

About an hour later, Diana and I were sitting on the floor in the hotel room bathroom splitting a burrito while Ollie slept soundly in the crib the hotel provided for us. Somehow we made it.

Yes, the day was crazy, long and stressful, but Ollie was sleeping soundly, and man that burrito taste good. There were rough moments in the day but there was one moment in particular that made the bad parts, not seem so horrible.

When we finally got to the hotel, I was exhausted. I could barely summon a smile when my sister-in-law who had gotten there earlier greeted me. My reservoir was empty. Somehow Ollie’s wasn’t.

As I walked into the lobby, Diana handed Ollie to my parents and the amount of joy the three of them shared in that moment made all of the weariness and stress melt away for that moment. I can’t remember the last time I saw my parents that happy. As they hugged Ollie and he giggled in delight, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of peace. At that moment I knew that all the effort it had taken to come to this wedding would be worth it. 

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