Last week Luke had to go on an extended work trip to Mexico, so Lila and I decided to make the trip back to the midwest to visit both my and Luke’s families. It was an ambitious undertaking for one parent, but one I felt was worth it to get some time with family.
They were loooong travel days – one four-hour flight, a three-hour layover and then another one-hour flight, but Lila did really well on both legs. On the way there we were lucky to get a whole row to ourselves, so she could crawl around, and on the way back, we sat with another mom and her baby, so they entertained each other. During our layovers I let her do lots of crawling around at the O’Hare Airport Children’s Museum. She also took some good naps.
When we finally arrived at my parent’s house in Ohio, I was ready for a break! I was expecting to be able to enlist my parent’s help watching her so I could clean up and rest, but Lila wasn’t having it. She clung to me and cried whenever I walked out of the room or someone else held her.
This separation/stranger anxiety continued throughout the week and only got slightly better when I was completely unavailable to her, like when Luke’s mom took her for a walk while I was doing some work calls in my room.
While I have to admit it was exhausting and at times frustrating to not get a break much of the week, I can’t say I really blame her. A three hour time change, whole new environment and lots of new people would set any 10 month old into an anxious state. On top of that, she cut two teeth while we were there!
Plus it was pretty sweet how her whole face would light up, arms would flap and she’s crawl over to me every time I entered a room.
The only part that made me sort of sad though, was that our families – whom we don’t get to see often – didn’t get to experience the sweet, independent, outgoing Lila I know. I really wanted them to see who she is and for Lila to feel comfortable around the people who love her most.
I guess that will just take some time. My job now is to support her and help her build trust in her autonomy. I have no doubts she’ll outgrow her anxiety and learn to feel secure that Mommy and Daddy will always return.
And even though she struggled at times, we still managed to make lots of sweet memories with my family in Ohio and Luke’s in Indiana. Here are some photos from the trip, starting with our visit to Luke’s parent’s house in Indiana and then some with my family and Lila’s cousins in Ohio.
Nothing makes me happier than being with the people I love. And seeing how much they love Lila brings a smile to my face. Even though a cross-country solo trip with a clingy babe isn’t always fun, it’s worth it so Lila understands just special her family is.
Special thanks to my brother Nick, brother-in-law Mike and MIL Felicia for snapping a lot of these photos while I was busy holding Lila!