This munchkin and I loaded up our gear and journeyed to SF last week for a reunion with college besties. Solo.
Like usual, she managed to charm our plane companions, flight attendants, and shuttle partners.
She got to do some serious bonding with her entire crew of Stanford next generation best friends, California aunties and their equally fabulous dudes...
While taking in the fish, the beach, the foggy, chilly Golden Gate and sun-kissed Dolores park.
The highs were many: her exclamations and giggles as she ran around the park chasing birds and dogs and anyone interesting with her rediscovered buddies, her squeals of amazement when she found out the her two favorite things - dogs and water - can actually go together at the beach, her absolute delight at so many of my closest friends, and her daily language explosion. When I pulled up to avra's and my great parking spot prompted me to say "that's awesome!" she immediately said back, "awesome!" When we pulled out of Dulles and I said, "off we go!" she patiently waited five minutes as I zig-zagged through the parking lot and paid our ticket to call out, perfectly timed as we pulled away, "off we go!" And when we were pulling into SF after our first insanely long day of travel, when I tuned in to the words she was saying in the back seat and realized they were a quiet: "one... two... five..."... Our little person has started to COUNT right under my nose. And the quiet moments of stillness on the plane - however short lived- when I had nothing to do but stare straight at this little sleeping girl and wonder how I got so lucky.
The lows were at 4 am, and 5 am, and 5:30 am. When our little east coaster just could not keep her eyes closed despite her sleep deprived, grumpy state. And they circled back again some afternoons, when tired mama and tired peanut struggled to get the right downtime despite new time zones and new friends and new stimulation and new everything. And the moment at SFO en route back, after our plane had been delayed 1.5 hours and we found out our shared seat would be a middle one. Harper could be found here and I almost joined her:
But all in all, we returned with full hearts. I'm so incredibly lucky to have these friendships, which have become stronger over the years despite thousands of miles of distance. And while I learned that action packed, super-bonding solo parenting slumber parties can leave you just as tired as a mom as they did when you were a six year old trying to stay up past midnight, these uninterrupted days with our fiercely independent, exuberant, increasingly hysterical little munchkin and so many of my favorite people left me laughing and smiling and full (ok, and sleepy. very sleepy.)
Super dad got a BIG, grateful hug when we got home...just before I made Harper tell him that our adventure was "awesome!"