My 20-month old toddler and I are flying from Mexico to San Francisco today – a flight we’ve done together at least a handful of times.
I decide to leave my Ergo at home for the first time since I started traveling with Lily at 6-weeks-old, and my heart flutters as she walks the whole way through the international terminal in Mexico on her own with her little backpack decorated with turtles and peace signs in tow.
She walks and runs through the airport to the gate, onto the plane and into her seat. I think we both sit down in the triple-seat row we scored with a little buzz of accomplishment.
Despite still being a “lap infant,” Lily opts to sit in the seat next to me and buckles her seatbelt. She wants me to unbuckle it so she can buckle it again. And again. And Again.
I am starting to get to know a girl who is more friend than baby. She giggles and shows me other airplanes and how the arm rest goes up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down again.
She wraps me in baby bear hugs for 20 minutes and then wants to nurse. She runs up and down the aisle of the plane saying hi to each of the passengers she passes.
As the flight finds its last hour, her incomplete nap in the car on the way to the airport starts to show its effects. Coloring. A book. Snacks. A song. Each works for about a minute before tiredness sets in. She doesn’t want to sleep.
Our deplane and journey through customs is less thrilling. I carry our diaper bag in one arm and my tired 30-pound toddler in the other while I roll the 3-day-trip carry on I had 8 hours ago been so proud of packing.
Our first non-checked bag and no-Ergo missions coupled are proving to have been overzealous.
We sit in traffic for an hour while Lily tries to sleep between cries. The day has grown long at this point. We pick up a quick dinner.
I spill half our plate trying to carry it along with the diaper bag and Lily who will no longer be put down. Do I really need this whole diaper bag to carry my wallet and her bib for this dinner?
We make it to our resting spot for the evening. We’ll have two on this short trip.
We giggle together before bed. I cuddle her to sleep.
Lily is resting now. And I am here writing. Even while I am the only one awake, I still feel her present.
Between Mexican Mother’s Day yesterday and American Mother’s Day the day after tomorrow, this is today’s version of mothering.
Here’s to celebrating its wholeness.