I can definitely wait to get on the road again. Whatever Willie Nelson was singing about – I know it certainly wasn’t about traveling with 5 month old refluxy Little S to NJ.
A note about traveling from Boston to New Jersey. After many years of making this trip, I can say that there is pretty much no way of doing it without hitting significant traffic in some major city. First, you have to leave Boston – enough said for those of you locals. Second, you have to go through Hartford, which sounds like it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it always is. Third, let’s cross the Tappen Zee. (How many times have we done this when I swear I could have run back and forth across the bridge before our car even moved. I am not sure why impromptu dance parties haven’t started on that bridge. Maybe next time?) Finally, you make your way on the Garden State Parkway. That’s the easiest part. Let’s just skip all the Jersey jokes. I was born and raised at the Jersey Shore – and there is only Jersey pride (and Italian ice) running through these veins.
So, given the obvious fear and intense anxiety over traffic, Papa K and I decided that it would be a fabulous idea to leave after Little S’s evening bottle (circa 7 PM) on a Thursday evening. This way, we were sure that there would be little traffic and Little S would sleep soundly in her brand new convertible carseat that reduced post-meal reflux vomit sessions. Brilliant. By 7:30 we were on our way. By 8:30, Little S had stopped her presleep moaning ritual and had closed those gorgeous blue eyes. By 8:45 we were in Hartford - surely no problem at that hour on a Thursday. And then, BAM – construction – 3 lanes to 1. Dead stop. Traffic jam. My heart started to pound, beads of swear formed on my forehead, and Little S’s feet started to stir. Then she started moving her body around in the chair. The pacifier dropped (yes, I am totally addicted to the pacifier – me more than her – I need to be weaned) and the crying started. To be honest, I might have started crying first. How could this be? The traffic appeared to continue into the horizon and, as much as Little S loves “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” – she loves her nighttime sleep way more.
Finally, eons later, traffic starts moving again. Little S starts to doze. Near-perfect Papa K stops strongly whispering to me to chill out.
I think: that wasn’t so bad – we are on our way.
But it wasn’t the end. Construction was everywhere. I get it – we got tons of snow – there are potholes everywhere. It’s super nice that they plan on doing construction at night when the commuters are off the road. But, I am on the road with a screaming baby and a husband who hates traffic and how his wife reacts in it even more!
I kept closing my eyes, breathing deeply, and visualizing that the car could fly. (Don’t tell me you haven’t done this before!)
It didn’t fly. But we made it (after countless more construction jams). Little S fell asleep and so did I. Thankfully, Papa K didn’t.
When we got to NJ, the grandparents who were supposed to be sleeping at 1 AM were waiting eagerly for the arrival of the granddaughter. We transferred her to the crib, her eyes popped open and out came that infectious smile. As did the grandparental “oooh” and “aaahs”…Let’s just say, Mama K and Little S didn’t end up sleeping much that night.
Or, any other night for that matter. We left more exhausted than we arrived – all of us with bags under our eyes. But, it was totally worth it – every second of pain and exhaustion. It was worth the reflux flare-up. It was worth the week it took for me to realize that we had not only disrupted Little S’s weak version of a schedule, but we were also never getting it back.
It was worth it because there’s nothing better than seeing your baby girl smile at her grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins. There’s nothing better than witnessing her giggle uncontrollably at her first game of peek-a-boo.
And, there’s nothing better than getting to be a daughter again.
So, though 99% of me can definitely wait (forever) to get on the road again, nothing would stop me from doing it again – probably sooner than I’ll admit.