Recently, my Mother graciously offered a package deal to Erie, PA ( our home State) to spend a week with Cousins, Aunts and an Uncle. Although I had many fears about taking my children out of their element, I am so happy that I did! This excerpt is meant to encourage you to travel with your little ones, even if it may seem impossible. Let’s talk taking your kid/s out of town…
Once I realized that I had committed to the travel, I had to talk myself out of quite a bit of panic. I reached out in at least two mom groups on FB to view responses from other mothers with advice for flying with more than one child under the age of two. The thing that terrified me most was making my children uncomfortable. The responses from other moms were mixed but overall they were encouraging. I was given multiple tips for helping the kids stay content and busy on the flights, which helped to ease my anxieties tremendously. I think the thing that freaked me out the most was that they would be removed from our home for an entire week. In my mind I pictured my children feeling lost. What I did not realize prior to this trip was my children are “at home” anywhere, as long as I was with them.
Building Memories and Experiences
The main reason that I took the trip was I knew I wanted to start the tradition of bringing my kids to Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, extensive travel is required to visit my side of the family. Growing up this was something we did as often as possible (most Summers and some Holidays). When my mother offered the tickets I felt a high level of anxiety almost instantly. Leaving the house for just a few hours is an ordeal, so, I knew this would be a stressful trip. Deep down, the understanding of this kept me aware that I needed to allow my family the opportunity to build relationships with my children. Boy am I glad that I pushed through my fears! There were so many great memories cultivated during this short trip and it was beautiful to see loved ones interacting with my babies. My children matured in ways that I had not anticipated on this trip and I contribute that to the experience gained. During our stay we were able to spend time my Father's and Mother’s side of the family. Both families are filled with cousins of all ages, eager to snuggle and speak to my children for the first time. This was truly beautiful to watch. Not only did I witness social skills and vocabulary growth in my children, I was able to observe bonds being built twice over with Cousins, Great Cousins, Great Aunts a Great Uncle as well as Grandma's.
Obviously I am choosing to focus on only positive aspects of this trip. Let me assure you, there were plenty of things that went wrong or seemed to "blow up" on this little excursion. However, I do not like to dwell in the negative, especially with something as special as this trip. I will say that it is extremely important to ensure you will have everything you need to keep your children close to schedule (as if you were in your own home/time zone) during travel. Fortunately, my closest cousin up North also has two small children and we were able to borrow the necessary items (crib, pack n play, highchair, car seats, double stroller, etc…). Also, I would recommend investing in a seat for your little ones, when flying with children under two. Having your baby in your lap is doable but it makes things much easier when you have an extra seat. Another thing to keep in mind is that travel packages often come with hidden restrictions. BE SURE to read through your package deal prior to purchase. If it seems too good to be true, or like an outrageously affordable trip, it could be filled with starts and stops that actually end up costing more than buying a non-stop flight directly from the airline or searching for travel (on your own). One thing I made certain to do was to bring a small amount of toys and books familiar to my daughter. Having these toys proved to be useful during downtime (after waking and before napping). We were even able to leave a few small toys behind as a gift by request from one of our cousins.
Just Do It
If you are contemplating travel, my suggestion would be to GO! Leave the worry behind and take the trip. Be sure to spend a good amount of time planning and communicating your needs with the people/family receiving you at your destination. You won’t regret it! You are bound to go through a bit of pain and struggle on trips like this but be sure to hold onto the meaningful moments and let go of the disastrous situations, IMMEDIATELY. This is the most valuable piece of advice I can give because time is precious. We are so very thankful that Grandma K was able to get us out and over to Pennsylvania for the first of many visits with our extended family. I would like to end this piece with the hope and well wishes that you are lucky and able to get out of your comfort zone with family like us, and travel together, sometime in your future!