Wednesday, May 25, 2016

to travel

Travel... it's such a complicated topic, no? Some love it, some can leave it, some like to get there, some hate the getting there. But I don't really know anyone who loves the getting there with a very young child. If you find yourself traveling with a toddler, you  do the best you can during the rough moments and hope for the best.

We all knew today would be that day of travel. For Snowdrop, everything suddenly is very different. She has been with her Parisian routines for ten days. Perhaps she believed that this was her new life now. And she grew to love it all -- the foods, the family, the parks. But this morning, it all changes: suitcases, packed quickly. Toys, books hidden from view. And still, Snowdrop has her family. Her smile, her wave are firmly in place.

Breakfast: my younger daughter joins me for the walk to Les Gourmandises d'Eiffel to get our breakfast breads.

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We share this waking of Paris (only food shops and cafes are open now). But we don't pause. Just croissants and various breads. It will be a quick morning meal.

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But a nice one! I eat it with my daughters...

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... well, someone else, who has already had her share of baguette...

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... horns in on the girl fun.

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The skies are blue, the spirits good, by 9:30, we're out of the apartment. Good bye, Eiffel Tower! How many times the little one has pointed to it with an appreciative grin!

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At the airport, there are the waits, of course. I get speedy lines with my frequent flyer stuff, but there is a snafu about the seating (the booked seats have disappeared) and so we have an interminable wait as the agents sort all this out. (In the end it's to our benefit because Air France felt enough apologetic about it all, that they gave Snowdrop her own seat -- she normally would have to be on a lap or lie in a bassinet. You remember the bassinet? She didn't really fit in it on the way over.)

And even now, Snowdrop retains her good mood.

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Run with mama!

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There are sweet moments with aunt and uncle...

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It all is more or less smooth, but she is a little one and sometime just before boarding, she becomes overwhelmed. Never mind: plenty of hands to help, and a nice long nap immediately upon take off puts her in a better frame again. I take my turn playing with her. With me, she decides to climb up on the chair and scoot down again. Over and over and over again. Her mama reads to her, feeds her, shows her videos, her daddy snuggles her on take off and landing. She does well despite the really late hour for her now.

In Detroit finally. Snowdrop realizes on the walk to the passport control that she still has all of us around her.

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We get through it all -- the lines, the suitcase processing -- and then we just barely make our flight to Madison (we have to run for it!). And yes, in Detroit we have to part with those who are not traveling to Madison. Minneapolis is their final destination and so here (at the TSA line actually), we say our sweet good byes.

(In flight to Madison, disheveled but still awake.)

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By our Paris clock, it is 1 a.m. when we land in Madison.

Ed is at the airport to take us home.