Sunday, February 12, 2012

Big Day Out

This past Saturday we celebrated my maternal Grandfather's 90th birthday. We were determined to attend this event despite the 6 hours we would spend in the car and the forecast for snow. I grew up in Philadelphia and will always call the city of brotherly love my hometown. We moved to Northern Virginia 4 years ago and I try to get up to Philly a few times a year to visit friends and family. Since having the baby, visiting has become more difficult. My mother passed away in 2005 and my father passed away when Orion was just six weeks old. Since losing both my parents I find it more important than ever to maintain ties to our extended family.

I thought we would leave around 1:30 or 2 as the party started at 5 and the journey takes about 3 hours. When I conferred with Patrick at 10:20, he suggested 11 or noon. I said fat chance on getting me out the door in 40 minutes. So I jumped in the shower, got dressed, and put my face on. I do not wear makeup very often but for family events and special occasions I take this extra step. But honestly, I never feel like I know what I am doing. I am just playing with my crayons. When it comes to eye makeup, I feel I have it down thanks to the diagram on the package. My chapstick addiction makes lipstick a bit more difficult. Also I hate the smell and taste of most lipsticks. When it comes to foundation, I am really clueless as my skin is so fair and pink. At the end of makeup play time, my husband deemed me presentable for public display. One day I may have to test him and see if he would let me out of the house looking like a hot mess.

Being a stay at home mom, I don't have many opportunities to get dressed up. Some days I never leave the house or get out of my pajamas. There was a time when I was really in to fashion and sometimes I miss getting dolled up. So I wasn't going to let a long ass car ride prevent me from wearing something nice. I never had a doubt as to what I was going to wear. But once I got in the car and sat down I started to think that a high waisted skirt and Spanx may not have been the best choice. It was too late to turn back. The words of my mother, "beauty is pain" rung in my ears.

We hit the road around noon and even though there was some snow on the roads, they were not as bad as we had anticipated. We hit the rest stop in Delaware just north of the Maryland boarder. Orion had been sleeping up to this point and I had to resist the “oh shit he is awake, must put my boob in his mouth” urge. Our first road trip was a 4 hour drive up to Gilbertsville, PA when my father died. Orion did a good job sleeping on the road but lost his shit in the final 20 minutes. When we got to my Aunts, lil' man was a hot sweaty mess. When he was 9 months old, we made the 10 hour trek to Michigan to visit my in-laws. He slept like a champ but once again couldn't stand to be in the car for another second once we were a half hour from our destination.

When Orion cries in the car, I shut down and it used to really pain my boobs. When you are so close to your destination, there is really no point in stopping, getting him out of the carseat, nurse him up, and put him back in the seat. He will just cry some more when he gets put back into the seat. Thanks to child safety laws you can no longer hold a baby in a moving car. This is a good thing, but not something you can explain to an upset baby.

True to form, Orion spent the last 15 minutes of the journey fussing. Getting off 95 at Broad Street, I was excited for Orion to be in Philadelphia. He would not remember this trip but I was driving through my past with my present and future snuggled in the car. We parked in Center City as the bell tolled 3. We had time to kill, so we visited a friend and enjoyed one of my favorite Philly treats. No, not a cheesesteak (they are way too hyped up), not a soft pretzel (this is a food item I wish would catch on like the cheesesteak), but Capogiro gelato.

Best place on earth to eat ice cream! I have been a fan of theirs since they opened and visit whenever I can. We have even flug (mailed in husband speak) some to relatives and have been meaning to do the same for myself. I love their Rosemary Honey Goat Milk flavor, but I digress. After gelato and another trip up to our friend’s apartment to nurse up the baby, we were back on the road.

We made it to the party in Germantown at 5. Orion spent the 45 minutes car ride sleeping but woke up once we arrived. I had only told an Uncle and one cousin I was coming as I wanted it to be a surprise. My mother was one of nine, and those nine had 32, and now my grandfather has 21 great grandchildren. When we get together it is very overwhelming as there are so many of us. Saying hello and goodbye takes forever. It was great to see everyone for such a happy event and well worth the trip.

We headed for home around 8:30 despite the many offers from various relatives to spend the night at their house. We didn’t want to haul all the stuff necessary when traveling with a baby for just one night. Plus, our 2 little dogs at home need caring for and we love our dog sitter but 2 visits are way cheaper than 4 or 5. This would also give us Sunday at home to decompress.

It had started to snow and was hella windy. The roads didn’t seem that bad but people were driving like morons. When we stopped to get gas in Maryland, some asshole was trying to merge on to 95 going 35 miles per hour. The stop for gas had woken up the baby and he started to cry. We were only 30 minutes from home and I just wanted to get there. The whole thing made me want to pull my hair out.

We got home around 11:30 and I was ready to rip off my Spanx and peel off my face. I got more comfortable while Patrick took care of the baby and got him ready for bed. Sadly, bed would not come anytime soon. It was after 2 a.m. when I got to sleep and I think I had to bring Orion into the bed with us but it is hard for me to remember. Sunday was a day spent in my jammies not leaving the house. In the afternoon, Orion and I took a nap together and after he woke up I was able to pass him off to Patrick. This allowed me to double my total naptime, score one for the momma.

Was it worth it? Yes, yes it was. I was happy to celebrate my Grandfather's long illustrious life. Coming up next will be a few tips I have learned for traveling with babies.

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