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Baby relaxes in her carseat after a long day of travel.

Frankly, I can’t remember what happened first: becoming pregnant or learning that my sister was getting married in Kansas. Either way, when I realized I had to choose between driving 12 hours or flying on a plane with a three-month-old baby, I started to become more than a little frazzled.

I was scared that I would be one of Those Parents. You know, the ones who board airplanes with crying babies in tow just to torture other passengers. The ones who take their sweet time in Security, unloading strollers and diaper bags, wrangling misbehaving children, all while holding up the single folks who just want to catch their flights. The parents, along with their bratty kids, who make airport travel unduly stressful. Those Parents. 

I did everything I could to avoid joining that club. To make things easier, I split the trip in two: we’d fly to Kansas City on the first leg and drive to Wichita for the second. Really, it was the only sane alternative. I had waited too long to book our travel: by then the airfare for a direct flight was cost-prohibitive, and the only connection back-tracked to Atlanta. We already knew we could last a few hours in the car with the baby, no sweat. It was the flying part that was causing me to panic.

That fear pushed my mommy brain into overdrive.

I have never in my adult life been so ill-prepared for a vacation. I’m the type that plans everything on a spreadsheet months in advance: which outfits I need to pack, when the museums open, how much to bring for cab fare. But traveling as a mommy was a journey on which I was scared to death to embark. I became more than a little forgetful:

  • Waited to find a place for the dogs to stay until three days before we had to leave. Lucky for us, we have a nice neighbor who the doggies love. Saved us the added cost of boarding our boys. Thanks, Mike!
  • Didn’t remember that my husband’s suit needed to go to the cleaners till two days before our flight. I should really blame this on him, but I can’t expect him to remember details like what he’s going to wear to the wedding.
  • One day prior to leaving, neglected to charge the cell phones. Moreover, didn’t print out directions, so had to rely on battery-depleted phones for GPS on the road to Wichita. Luckily there is nothing in Kansas, so it’s hard to get lost.
  • 10 minutes before driving to the airport, I decided to print out the email confirmation for our rental car. That was when I realized I had lost the email, and I couldn’t remember which company I had made the reservation with. OK, OK, the thing is, I may not have even had a reservation in the first place. I’m not sure which is worse. 
  • To top it all off, we misplaced the rental car paperwork in the five minutes between the checkout counter and the security gate, and were nearly blocked from exiting the rental car lot. Finally found the receipt in one of the diaper bag pockets. Will someone please remind me why I registered for the bag with 50 pockets?

Somehow, despite all the poor planning, our trip was a breeze. The baby is a born-traveler. She dozed on the plane, chillaxed in the hotel room, basked in the attention lavished by my family, slept through the entire ceremony, and was a big hit dancing the night away in everyone’s arms at the reception.

The flight was an easy one, only an hour. And the airline staff were really helpful, sympathetic from the moment they glimpsed us lugging all of our baby gear toward the ticket counter. And Baby Girl is in her easy-to-please-as-long-as-you-hold-me stage. So we had a lot of things going our way. The trip could have gone really wrong, but in the end, it went really right. I am so glad it did, because we’ve got lots of adventures awaiting our new little family.

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