Anna’s first flight to Ohio was for my younger brother’s wedding, she was two months old. I remember worrying about that flight before she was even born. I was stressed that we were doing it alone, stressed that she would cry the entire flight and stressed that I wouldn’t know what to do.
Our first flight together was amazing, she slept almost the entire time and when she wasn’t sleeping she was just staring at me ~ her mama. That flight is when I knew we were going to be ok and that we were going to go on many adventures together.
When she was almost two we flew to Alaska to visit dear friends that lived in the small village of Pedro Bay. We flew into Anchorage, then to the small airport in Iliamna and then jumped on the mail plane, just Anna, myself and the mailman, which landed on the airstrip in Pedro Bay – population 42. Before taking off from Iliamna there were some concerns that Teresa, my friend, needed to be there waiting for us because of a recent bear sighting on the airstrip. There wasn’t a building to go in and the mailman didn’t want to wait or leave me stranded with a toddler in bear country.
Teresa was there waiting and all was good. We spent the next two weeks exploring the wilds of Alaska and connecting with our friends. It was definitely a trip of a lifetime.
After that trip, I was an empowered single mom who knew that the sky was the limit on where we would travel in our future. We often daydreamed about trips to Africa together, especially as we wrote letters to our sponsored children there. Anna would refer to them as her family often and couldn’t wait to see them in person.
Tonight Alice and I are taking a redeye to Ohio. It will be our first adventure together – I pray one of many.
My heart is extremely heavy. Going to Ohio was one of Anna’s favorite places to go.
Throughout this week, as I packed for our trip, I have found a tremendous amount of gratitude to Anna. She was the one who taught me how to travel with an infant/toddler. She taught me that the easiest flight I would ever take with her would be when she was two months old and slept/stare at me the entire time. She taught me that what worked during one flight might not work during the next and that asking her to stop kicking the seat in front of her only meant that she would kick it more. She taught me about what was important to have close at hand, so we can stay content while the “do not remove your seatbelt” sign is on. She taught me that carrying wipes, extra clothes for myself and some small dry bags are very important. She taught me the art of creating airplane games, like hide the sticker and “find it” in the air mall catalog. She taught me that it’s completely ok to stand on your seat when you arrive at your destination and yell, “we are in OHIO.”
She was/is my traveling companion and I am so grateful for all of our adventures together.
Anna taught me so much and tonight I know she will be right there with me singing a lullaby in her sister’s ear – because Anna and I both know this will be our Alice’s easiest flight.
PS. When Tom and I got married Abigail joined Anna and I on many of our trips back to Ohio. We had some really fun airport/plane/hotel adventures together too. My favorite ~ you can read here. ❤