Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry-Ons

This afternoon, when I'd normally be attempting to restore some order to my kitchen, I instead climbed up to the attic and pulled down our two largest suitcases. Right now, I should probably be figuring out exactly what I need to stuff into them. But then I'd really have to come to terms with the honest-to-goodness travel in our future. And that might launch a full-blown anxiety attack.

On Friday, Westley will be getting on a plane for the first time. In fact, as though to make up for my not taking him with me on my beach vacation last August, Westley will be taking two out-of-state trips in the next few days, one right after the other.

Fortunately, I won't be traveling alone with a tired, clingy, congested toddler; Rob will be there, too. Unfortunately, we'll all be going to unfamiliar cities, with dietary restrictions and nap schedules to worry about, trying to sleep crammed together in hotel beds.

I keep reminding myself that this is supposed to be fun. Or, if not fun, at least not crazy-making. People travel with toddlers all the time and live to tell the tale. Not only that, but we're going out of town because two of our close friends are getting married (not to each other, on subsequent weekends). We're supposed to be celebrating life and commitment and togetherness and love. All wonderful things! Yay!

But I can't seem to get to a celebratory place, even though I know I'm deliriously happy for my friends. (I swear I am.) I'm too busy dreading the next ten days.

Now, faced with suitcases to pack and itineraries to print, I keep reminding myself that when I made these travel arrangements, I also made up my mind to be calm. I so want to be one of those people who happily jet off to wherever with their kids, framing it as, "Hooray, we're going on a family adventure!" But I'm so not that person right now. I'm too anxious a traveller and too neurotic a mother to be that person. It's entirely possible that I will become that person after this upcoming travel experience (though I'm not counting on it).

In the meantime, I'm focusing on keeping calm, labor-and-delivery style. Deep breathing and such. In with the love, out with the jive. The theory is that if I'm calm about traveling, Westley will be calm about it, too.

I just hope it actually works out that way. I'm not sure what I'll do if it doesn't.

(Of course, if I'm calm enough, I just won't care.)