Have baby: Will travel...keeping it in the family

Filed under: Babies, Relatives, Activities: Babies, Places To Go

I hate to admit this but this trip has made me so tired that last night I went to bed before my grandparents. They're both 77 years old. When I went to sleep it was still light outside. I've never before experienced anything quite like it, and I feel like a dweeb. A somewhat well-rested dweeb, yes, but a dweeb nonetheless.

On the plus side I woke up before them and before the baby. Miraculously I managed to wake up, pump and get this (hopefully) written before my son awakens for his early bird AM feeding. I can't seem to get online consistently, again, but am confident I will be able to post this at some point today. Who knew getting on the web would be so difficult when traveling? Here I thought it was merely as simple as turning on my computer.

In other news it turns out I am almost out of prenatal vitamins. Again. Again? Asked my husband--yes. I take one a day the whole time I am breastfeeding, so I go through them pretty quickly. I am so used to taking them that I basically forgot about them until I had to pack them and realized I had less than a week's supply. Just one more thing I didn't think about in advance (enough or at all).

Traveling is such hard business. My mother used to say that it was so much work to plan for a trip that sometimes it made taking the trip not worth it in the first place. Neither of us would really agree with that, since then we'd never see each other or the beach--our favorite destination--but it does make me understand why she is such a list maker.

My mother keeps lists for everything. I swear one time, and this may have been for fun, she kept a list of her lists. She would have these master packing lists and then one for each member of the family that she'd print out for us before we started packing for a trip. Once all the items on the list were checked off you were finished.

It made coming home all that much easier too. You could consult the list to ensure you had every item with which you arrived. This process, good as it was, annoyed me to the point where I became the lightest packer known to man.

As I may have mentioned, pre-baby my husband and I used to get away with sharing one piece of carry-on luggage and a personal item each. Now that we have the baby we've managed to fill a Ford Escape to the brim.

This is no good as there are a number of things my parents were counting on us taking back to New York with us. My wedding dress is one thing, as is a mirror we were given as a wedding present over three years ago. There's also this picture my grandparents (the ones visiting) gave me as a Christmas present a few years ago, It has mother of pearl inlay and seems to be worth something. It certainly means a lot to me emotionally--my grandparents have had that picture for so long I can't help but think of them without thinking of the picture.

My son stirs a few feet from me and all I can think of is that he will never really know my grandparents. He'll know his own, of course, fate willing, but he will never truly have the pleasure of knowing my grandparents except through pictures. They helped raise me so I have a very strong bond with them, one I can only hope Mercer shares with his grandparents.

My grandparents getting to meet Mercer was one of the main reasons for this trip. Who knows if we'll get to come back to Louisville for Christmas or if they'll even be with us. Scary to think about and even worse to type, but a reality all the same.

They haven't been doing so well these past few weeks. When we first saw them yesterday my husband commented on how slowly they were both moving. And these are people who still drive, one of whom still works, and whom used to keep what was essentially a two-acre garden.

Now my grandfather is defined by his cane, my grandmother by her upcoming surgery--the latest trip to the doctor for her, where she spends a great deal of her time these days. If it's not one thing it's something else, you know.

Yet despite all these things my grandparents remain in a good mood most of the time, happy and thankful for what they have. The more of a parent I become the more I begin to understand them as people and not just members of my family. I start to see them as I've started to see my parents, as who they are not just what they mean to me.

Miraculously, despite the noise from my grandparents bustling around our creaky old house, my son remains asleep, as does my husband. My grandparents don't yet know I am awake, and that I managed to get up before they did--another first.

Right now I am essentially alone in this dark room typing away. I remain hidden like the truth that one day I will have to get by without certain members of my family, that my son will only know these people through the pictures we made sure we took so he can have them when he is old enough to understand who the people are and why they meant so much to me.

This trip was not a vacation in my eyes by any means. We did stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and check out downtown Cleveland, but other than that this trip was and is about family. It's about the people you try not to take advantage of but can't help but do anyway, the ones who are more voices across the line than anything, who are the same when you see them but so different with age.

These are the people that, as they age, age you too. It's not really a bad thing. Even though I am still a little girl to my grandma she sees me as someone's mother too. She sees me all grown up the way she would want me to be, except for the fact that I live so far away. She's not happy about that at all.

If I lived in Louisville, she says, she could keep my son for me while I was at work, just like she kept me when my mom worked. Never mind that she is nearly 80 years old! Never mind that she is having surgery today; it's outpatient but taxing to her system all the same. She is so aged that her recovery is sure to be a slow one, a painful one and one filled with ever more medication and complications.

Never mind all that though. My grandma is alive and kicking and probably barely notices these things. She doesn't really care about them either. All she cares about is her family and, presently, her great-great grandson. It's an attitude toward life I can only aspire to.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.