One thing that having children will do is change your perspective. One baby turns your world upside-down in that wide-eyed, what-are-we-even-doing way because it’s all brand new. Life after Oden arrived seemed simultaneously more magical and more difficult. Then came Morrison. And while he is a very happy and “easy” baby, two kids is a juggling act! A toddler and an infant at the same time is chaos. Potty-training and teething! Diapers everywhere! Funky sleep patterns! I’ll forever be in awe of single parents, because John and I literally trade off kids all day long. Our perspective has changed- now when we have just one child, thanks to childcare or summer day camp or something, parenting feels like a breeze. So you can imagine that when we recently left BOTH kiddos overnight for the first time, we were stunned at the feeling of having NO little people to care for!
Months ago, John optimistically bought tickets to see Jack White’s band, The Raconteurs, at the Santa Barbara Bowl. We’d fly in on the day of the show and fly home the next day. He figured we’d have plenty of time to figure out childcare for one night and I’d be ready to leave the baby by then (for the first time!). We lined up our nanny, booked flights and hotel, and connected with friends who would also be at the show. As the date of the concert grew closer, I thought it might also be a good time to stop breastfeeding Mo. That last week, I tapered off his feedings and tried to savor our time together. I was absolutely unprepared for how emotional I was the morning of our flight, when I thought I was feeding him for the last time!
We gave lots of kisses and double-checked the two-page over-cautious instructions I’d left and hopped in the car. John and I looked at each other like, “What now?” It felt odd to be heading to the airport, on time, hardly any luggage, no toddler songs playing on the car’s stereo. I took a deep breath and tried to let go of any anxiety I was feeling about leaving. Moms understand. It just doesn’t feel right to be away from your children, but it’s important for everyone!
Guys, here’s where that dose of perspective comes in again. Multiple times, I double-checked my bag or looked around. Traveling sans children felt too easy and I kept thinking I’d forgotten something! There were a couple of snafus along the way- a scary moment with a mechanical issue on a plane (a “Master Warning Message” in the cockpit while speeding down the runway, seconds from taking off!), rushing to switch flights so we didn’t miss the show. But overall, traveling was pleasant. Calm. Quiet. I read 5 magazines on the two flights to Santa Barbara, some that I’d had from months ago. I sent supportive vibes and kind smiles to any parents flying with rambunctious or unhappy youngsters. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH.
Obviously, the actual trip felt like it was over as soon as it began, but we enjoyed every second. Our hotel, the Kimpton Canary, was adorable and comfortable. We checked in, got dressed, and I pumped using a manual breast pump so I wouldn’t have any issues with engorgement or clogged milk ducts. We met up with old friends at a very cool eating establishment called the Public Market, which was almost like a food court at a mall but with really good food options and adult beverages. We took an Uber to the concert venue. Despite growing up in LA, I’d never been to the Santa Barbara Bowl, but John had. It’s a beautiful outdoor amphitheater built into a hillside. We learned that Jack White does not allow cell phones, and we had to put them into these locked pouches during the show. While I was bummed not to be able to take photos or video, it was awesome to be fully engaged with the concert experience. The show was amazing! John said more than once, “I’m so glad we didn’t miss this!” After the show, we all went out for a bit of food and then us “old” parents excused ourselves to hit the hay. Throughout the day, our nanny had sent updates and photos of the kids, so I knew they were safe and happy and that allowed me to sleep well in that big, comfy hotel bed!
The next morning, we slept later than usual but our bodies are used to being up early with babies. I pumped again, checked on the kids, and dozed off while John meticulously read the Sunday New York Times in bed. At one point, he said, “This is blissful.” We’d arranged for a late check out, so we took our time. We ordered room service breakfast before heading upstairs to the best part of our hotel: the gorgeous rooftop! I adore the Spanish tile roof and design, which reminds me of growing up. The view from the roof was just beautiful, and it was warm and sunny even though we could see the fog over the ocean. We lounged by the pool, reading magazines and the newspaper, and our friend, Turner, met us for a bit. Heavenly!
When it was time to check out, we hopped in Turner’s car and headed for a Santa Barbara classic: La Super Rica taqueria! Coincidentally, we’d read on the plane that Julia Child loved going there! There was a long line for lunch but, wow, it was worth it. We watched a woman do nothing but make homemade tortillas on the flat top. Delicious! After lunch, we had just enough time to walk on the beach. I tucked my toes into the sand, breathed the salty air, and that was that. We headed to the airport and watched the sun set into the clouds from the flight.
As expected, Oden and Mo were overjoyed to see us, and the feeling was obviously mutual! It turned out not to be the end of my breastfeeding journey with Morrison, after all. Our little getaway wasn’t long, but it was certainly refreshing for both of us. It was a moment to reconnect as a couple before diving back into our roles as parents, and I think that is more important than I realized. We’re back in the thick of it now, and some days are hard. Some days are wonderful! We’ve got the happy memory of our fun trip and daydreams about the next one, whenever it may be. Until then, we have Oden’s first day of preschool and Mo’s first steps to look forward to (both are coming soon!). Stay tuned!
Bit by the travel bug? See more of our travels here.