“Let’s go on a vacation!” are five words that will not be uttered from our mouths again for at least the next ten years. This past summer we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, and we decided to celebrate it by going to Hawaii. Years past when we said, “Let’s go away somewhere,” we would go online, book something last-minute and go away for the weekend. Boy, how times have changed!
My gay dad friend Chris who has three little boys said to me, “Oh you are not on vacation anymore, now it’s called traveling!” and he is right!
During the pre-Milo era, we would check in for our flights before we arrive at the airport, stroll through security, grab a drink in the lounge, watch a little tv or read a magazine prior to boarding our flight. Then we would stow our carry-ons and enjoy a cocktail or two (or four!) on the plane, watch a movie or fall asleep. Before we knew it, we arrived at our destination; well rested and looking impeccably fine, as double-income-no-kids do.
Let’s fast forward to August 2015. The alarm goes off at 5 am. We need to wake Milo up, feed him a bottle, make him something to eat, get ourselves dressed, eat breakfast, double check the two-page list of things that we need for our trip, pack the car of our two large suitcases, three carry-ons, the travel car seat, travel stroller, and be on the road to arrive at the airport at 7 a.m. (Luckily the airport is not that far from us!)
There are no long lines for checking in, but just short tempers, stressed out and tired daddies! We just have to remember that this is all worth it. All this stress better be worth it!
We get on the plane, unload countless books and toys and food into the seat pockets in front of us. We entertain Milo as much as we can, firstly to keep him from screaming – oh yes, he is that baby – and second, to tire him out so he will sleep! Does any of this work? Of course not! (Maybe for a few hours but it felt like 10 minutes!) Milo is having way too much fun walking up and down the isles. Frank and I took turns keeping him busy, getting up from our seats, sitting down, getting up, sitting down …
The flight crew comes around asking us what we’d like to drink. Milo thinks it’s funny if Daddy wears his drink instead of drinking it. He grabs the cup of orange juice and dumps it on Frank. Naturally. We are covered in food and drinks but Milo is having fun! Eventually he tires out and falls asleep. We can’t sleep now because we are so overtired. We finally land.
We gather everything we unpacked on the plane. Triple check to make sure nothing was left behind. All clear! We exit the plane looking impeccably disheveled, tired, dirty, messy and frankly just over it as parents would who have small kids do.
We have arrived in paradise and this has been the best trip we have done as a family. The grueling flights over were well worth it. Milo loves the beaches as much as we did. (Although he enjoyed the taste of sand more!) We renewed our vows on the beach with Milo and he went to his first luau. There truly is something magical about the spirit of aloha, as the locals say, and we are so lucky that we can experience this together as a family.
Unfortunately our trip is over and time has come for another 12-hour flight home. Chaos ensues on the plane: the screaming, the tears, the no sleeping, food being dumped on you, but as a parent you manage and you find the energy to deal. All of this is forgotten as soon as you arrive home. Would we do it all over again? In a heartbeat!