Shake What Your Momma Gave You

I hadn't realized until this month how sheltered I've been. While I am quick to boast of our adventures in Puerto Rico when Caroline was just four weeks old followed by a trip to Minnesota a month after, since then we've limited our travel to just a few road trips. Life over the past 19 months has been about work, sleep, cleaning the house and creating a safe nest for Caroline. I think most parents would agree with me that sometimes it's just easier to stay home.

We laugh when we get a last minute phone call at 7 pm on a Saturday to "get a drink at the bar" and can't fathom planning to drive an hour and a half to Albany for a day trip to the mall. We are way too tired to go to the bar and what about finding a last minute sitter? Impossible. The dog's not going to watch the kid. And as far as the mall, I'd rather wear last year's fashions than take the effort to get ready to go, miss nap time and get home only in time for dinner before a bath and bed. We have focused most of our time and energy on our house and all of our activities occur there, which probably explains why I've suddenly become crazed about redecorating.

My new job and need to visit family is forcing me to travel. It's been hard to leave the house and sometimes, the baby, behind but in the end it has opened my eyes again. There is a whole world out there beyond Upstate New York and it starts right here in our own country. A quick flight to New Orleans reminded me of the slow pace of the South, the feeling of sunshine on my face and the enjoyment of drinking a $3 daiquiri. It also taught me that it's ok to do something without my daughter and my husband can actually manage the home without me. Granted, the house was dirty and smelled when I arrived home, but Caroline was dressed and clean and happy.

We boldly took a family vacation to Florida this past weekend and survived a plane ride with a toddler. We navigated the airport and two and a half hours in flight. Who needs books or new, fancy toys when you have Mommy's and Daddy's water bottle to drink from and the lady's next to you TV remote buttons to push?

Florida reminded me that people still smoke inside, guzzle a lot of gasoline and like tattoos. I learned in Florida that I'm a Puritanical New Englander at heart and my athletic Nike swimskirt might as well have been a burka when compared with the number of bikini-on-Mommy-bodies. Caroline missed almost every nap and stayed up late. She ate dirt and had a tick on her bottom at the state park. She came home dressed and clean and happy. And is right back to her nap and bedtime schedule.

Sometimes having kids makes it hard to leave the house during the day and the couch at night. As I sit here with sun kissed legs, surfing photos of Caroline bouncing on the vacation air mattress, I am also packing my bags because I leave again tomorrow for a work conference. I wonder if there will be a pool at the hotel? I wonder if I should pack the old, pre-baby bikini?


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