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  • Writer's pictureElana

Flying Solo

About a month ago, our family went on a trip to Boston.

The real purpose of this trip was so that I could go to the Society of American Mosaic Artist’s conference. But I’m still breastfeeding our little one so if I went, the baby had to come too. And his Daddy to watch him while I was in sessions. And we weren’t about to tell our 3 year old that 3 of us are going on a trip and he was being left behind. So away we all went!

We knew this trip would be both fun and challenging, but one of the most challenging parts for me was that I would have to travel to Boston (to the airport and on an airplane), alone with both kids. Navin was going to be away on a work trip and meet us in Boston.

Facing my solo-with-2-kids travelling anxieties, I prepared in every way I could think of, and then let my worries go. I bought this amazing harness from KidsFlySafe that would both keep our 3-year-old Ari safe (and – let’s be honest, more importantly – restrained) while on the airplane. I packed my baby carrier and stroller seats. I worked through scenarios in my head like what to do if I needed to use the bathroom on the plane, or if Ari needed to use the bathroom, or if the baby had a poop-splosion. I packed crafts and activities and loaded the laptop up with shows (or so I thought – I was unpleasantly surprised on our flight when I found that only one episode loaded properly!) I kept reminding myself that it was only one day, only a 1.5-hr flight, only time-limited and then it would be over. I reminded myself that I could ask from help from flight attendants, employees or strangers along the way. And I reminded myself that sometimes spending a bit of extra money can solve problems.

I packed for days, or maybe even weeks, and I worked very hard to keep the tone of the preparation for the trip exciting and hide any concerns I had from Ari, who was over the moon excited to be going on an airplane, on a trip to a new place, only a few days after his 3rd birthday.

At this time there was also a lot of excitement going on in my family as my little sister almost had a baby on Ari’s birthday, and then DID have her baby a few days later, the night before we left for Boston. As she went into labour I was not only stressed about the trip, but mostly very excited about my very first nephew coming into the world and emotional that I was going to miss meeting him at the earliest possible opportunity. I had been researching options for flying home early, but he was so considerate to be born when he was, because we were able to back in time for his ‘brit milah’ and have a chance to meet him and celebrate his arrival together with our entire family.

His impending arrival also meant that I lost my best support person, as my mom (rightly so) went in to Toronto to await his arrival. That’s ok. I was about to literally fly solo with these two kiddos and I would have to manage them on my own at home too. (And by “on my own” I mean I hired a babysitter to come over and help me).

In the midst of all of this, every news channel was covering the “nor-easter” storm that had dumped a ton of snow on the East coast and all of the Boston flights that were being cancelled. Luckily, we weren’t leaving until the next day.

The next morning, car already packed and loaded, pup dropped off and children fed and dressed, we left for our journey. In one of those “money can solve problems” examples, I decided to drive right up to the airport terminal and do valet parking, and pre-booked a porter to carry our bags because I could not wrap my head around how I would push a stroller and carry our suitcases to the check-in counter at the airport.

Travel day went so well. Both kids cooperated amazingly, strangers and airport employees and flight attendants were so helpful, and the customs agent even called me “Supermom”! Everyone was so nice. Most people looked at me like I was crazy.

The best part of that day, aside from Skyping with our brand new baby nephew/cousin from the gate before takeoff, was Ari’s reaction when he was reunited with his Daddy at the baggage claim in the Boston airport.

The trip itself was full of challenges and was also so much fun. We were worried about Ari being disturbed in the night as Ezra was still waking every 3 hours, but again on the “money solves problems” theme, we decided to upgrade our hotel room to a suite (a good night’s sleep is well worth an extra $25/night). The weather was FREEZING cold and super windy which made exploring by foot with a stroller challenging. And of course there was the matter of working around my conference schedule, plus the fact that Navin’s work ramped up big time so he would have to work from the hotel room and manage conference calls while caring for both boys on his own. But everything worked out great and we all had a good time.

The mosaic conference was wonderful. It was hard to miss out on some of the social or optional fun parts of the conference, but I got so much out of the presentations, workshop and events.

In between sessions, and in the days that followed the conference, we were able to fit in some super fun family adventures. Ari visited the Boston Children’s museum more than once (aka his version of heaven), and we decided to take a trolley (if there is another Ari heaven, this is it) as the best way to get around and explore the city in the middle of the freezing cold weather. One morning we stayed in the hotel and played in the pool.

Boston Fishing Pier, Children’s Museum and Tea Party Ships

Hotel Pool

Trolley Rides

“Myrtle the Turtle” and the Boston Aquarium

Navin eating a whole lobster on St. Paddy’s Day (okay, I shared it with him, but I just had to share this picture)

I think by far Ari’s favourite landmark was the “Make Way for Ducklings” statue in Boston Commons park, right beside where the original “Cheers” bar is located. He just kept hugging that Mama duck and never wanted to let go, and for weeks we had to read the “Make Way for Ducklings” book at bedtime.

The trip home with two parents was much easier, even though we were separated on the plane and the flight attendant made me wake Ezra up and take him out of his carrier (grrr it still makes me angry just to think about this). The TSA security checkpoint officers gave Ari a special “Junior Officer” badge and then our pilots showed Ari the cockpit (well, he invited himself up there while we were folding up the stroller, but they were awesome about it and even let him wear a pilot’s hat!)

I am so grateful for the chance to take this trip together, invest in my own personal development, explore a new place, and have an amazing adventure!

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