They say one of the rewards of parenting is seeing the world through your child’s eyes, and as much as I hate to concede that anything “they” say is true, I have to give “them” props on this one.
What our child saw this past week was a whole lot of miles in the car as we visited each set of grandparents, plus some aunts, uncles and friends along the way. We also saw some hotel rooms, which was easily Nora’s favorite part of the trip.
In each hotel where we stayed, we booked a room with two beds — one for mama and daddy, and the other all for Nora. It’s not like she has to share a bed at home, but her bed is a toddler bed, not the vast sea of softness that is a queen-sized hotel bed. It’s like we gave her her own kingdom to rule. Exciting stuff, which meant bedtime was a disaster every night. With all the visiting, we often didn’t get back to our hotel until late at night, 9 or 10 or even later. But every night, Nora took at least an hour, sometimes much more, to settle herself down enough to sleep. That big bed — and having us in the same room to chat endlessly with — was just too much.
She was remarkably good in the car down the long road and back again to Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina — *I* was the one in the mood to cry from being cooped up too long toward the end. To her, car trips mean endless reading and coloring, and endless ability to ask mom or dad (whoever’s not driving) to pick something up that she dropped on the floor 30 seconds ago. But most importantly, car trips mean at least one stop a day for ice cream. They say the journey is more important than the destination — but Nora would argue that ice cream breaks are most important of all.
As for the adults, we were enriched beyond measure to spend time with beloved family and friends we hadn’t seen in far too long. We shared memories of our childhood haunts and discovered some new spots along the way. But through our daughter, we reveled in the softness and vastness of a hotel bed like we never had before, and there were a few times we wanted that ice cream stop even more than she did. So thanks, Nora, for being a trooper during that long car ride, and for not being too much of a wreck even though your bedtimes and mealtimes went straight out the window for a long stretch of days. But most of all, thanks for adding another dimension of enjoyment to this trip, and reminding us to enjoy the little things that we used to take for granted.