At the last minute, my mom and I decided to take a quick weekend trip up to Michigan to help my sister pick out a wedding dress. With all that has happened since my own wedding, I sometimes forget how important those little moments are. Finding the perfect dress is right up there with walking with your dad down the aisle and seeing your soon to be husband’s face at the end of it. And I didn’t want that moment to happen without me. So, when Amanda found a cheap flight out of Myrtle Beach, we jumped on it, with some trepidation (on my part).
Anywhere I go, Penny goes too (breastfeeding and my inability to leave my daughter for more than a few hours being the main reasons). But the thought of bringing Penny on an airplane for the first time without Kevin there to work his baby whisperer magic made me a little nervous. I knew my mom would be more than willing to help though, and I was super excited for Penny to see some of the ladies who have been loving her from afar since before she was born.
The first challenge was figuring out what to pack. I didn’t want to pay extra for a carry-on bag or check anything, so I was determined to get mine and Penny’s belongings into my “purse” and “personal bag.” This meant no cloth diapers…so we made do with disposable for the weekend. I also perfected my rolling clothes tightly technique and wore what I could onto the plane. I had to consult my sister at one point and ask her to remind me of exactly how cold it gets up there and which of my poor excuses for winter gear would suffice (you really do forget!), and planned on lots of layers for Penny. You truly realize what are essential items and what you can live without when you need to pack lightly. Some essentials: Penny’s sound machine, her glowing seahorse, sleep sacks, at least10 pacifiers, lots of socks, and a pair of jeans for me. (Penny’s sleep is obviously a priority to me these days). Things that got the boot when they couldn’t be squeezed into my bag: my hairbrush, an extra pair of pants, and my flats. (It’s too snowy to wear flats anyway, right?)
Before I knew it, our things were packed into the car and we were on the road. Penny slept almost the entire 2 hour drive to the airport, and we had time to get some dinner from a Mexican airport restaurant before boarding our plane. Side note: Penny still doesn’t like avocado. I will keep trying though- when I think of all the years of eating guacamole that I missed out on because I was afraid to eat the lumpy green stuff…sigh. What can I say, I don’t want Penny to make the same mistakes I did.
After getting Penny into her fleece footed jammies and boarding the plane, I fed her just as we were ascending in order to help keep her ears from popping. The plan was for her to then go to sleep, as it was her bedtime after all. Penny, however, had different plans.
As soon as we got into the proper laying down snuggled in my arms position that is ideal for sleeping, Penny protested. Loudly. Had we been home, I would have ignored her protests, knowing that her sleepy eyes continuously rubbed by tiny fists meant that Penny, being not quite 8 months old yet, doesn’t really know what she wants. Since we were surrounded by other passengers no doubt hoping for a quiet and peaceful flight, however, I decided against that idea. Instead my mom and I kept her occupied with various toys and objects that weren’t toys but were equally as interesting (the airplane safety manual and my mom’s necklace being at the top of the list) for the hour and a half flight.
The descent into Detroit was a little rough on Penny, who kept crying out and pulling at her ears, but once we got off the plane and I strapped her into our carrier, she fell right asleep. After getting picked up by Aunt Amanda and Uncle Brandon and getting back to their house, Penny was very happy to get into bed. Better late than never! She still woke up at 7am on the dot though.
The next day included remembering how to walk on the slippery snow (I felt like Bambi when he walks on ice for the first time, only I was also carrying a baby), my sister finding the perfect dress, (after only 5 tries, not bad!) a good lunch at Coney Island, some playing, some dodging away from Crowley the dog (an acclaimed sock thief who found Penny’s miniature baby socks rather enticing), and finally, some love and snuggles from Penny’s new aunts (also known as my forever best friends from Michigan).
Sunday was all about quality time with Amanda and Brandon, and Detroit style pizza. Ahhh, how I missed it. Penny got to try it too, but I don’t think she appreciates it quite yet. All in good time.
Before we knew it, it was time to fly home. Our 6:30am flight required us to leave the house at 4. Penny seemed rather confused to be up at such an hour, but didn’t complain as we drove to the airport, stood in the long line to check in, went through security, and finally got onto our plane. Not a peep! As we ascended once again, Penny fell asleep nursing, and proceeded to sleep the entire flight, finally giving in to the calming vibrations of the dimly lit plane. Stepping out of the airport, I breathed in the warm, breezy air, detecting hints of spring. I had the exact same sensation that I would get as a child when I would leave the harsh winter conditions of Michigan and arrive at some tropical destination on vacation, giddy to see palm trees and shed heavy layers of clothing. Only this time we weren’t on vacation, we were home.
Penny has her first trip back to Michigan and her first plane ride under her belt, and it couldn’t have gone more smoothly. As she grows, it will continue to be a magical place full of snow, deep dish pizza, and people who love her. We look forward to many trips still to come, and the excitement that comes with traveling as well as the contentment that comes with returning home.
Sky fits heaven so fly it
That’s what the prophet said to me
Child fits mother so hold your baby tight
That’s what my future could see