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Family Vacation


South_Carolina_BeachWe just took our first family vacation.—like baby-on-the-plane, stay-in-a-hotel, big-deal vacation. With the awesome sleeper than my son is (not), I was super nervous. I packed a suitcase of just his toys and books to give him all the comforts of home. A few weeks before we left, I did my due diligence for the flight and posed the question on Facebook of how best to travel with a baby. My friends are amazing and responded in force with all the best advice. I was feeling pretty good.
 
Two days before we left, my son got the sniffles.
 
The day before we left, his fever rose to 101.5°F.
 
I promptly called the doctor and purchased all the supplies we would need. My husband and I monitored him all night, and by morning the fever was gone. The sniffles had turned to full-out congestion, but the doctor said that was fine, and we were on our way.
 
We breezed through security (thanks to the amazing advice we had received) and my son promptly fell asleep in the baby carrier going to the gate. After another call to the doctor, I sent my husband on a mission to get some medication for me. I had woken up with a scratchy throat.
 
Except for getting antsy toward the end of the flight and a little crying during landing due to his congestion and ears trying to pop, the flight was easy. We were off to a great start.
 
However, the first night was a disaster. Even though he had his own sheets, his noise machine, and his standard bedtime routine, being in a new place and not feeling well was not a recipe for a happy baby. He couldn’t settle down, and he couldn’t stay asleep. We were all up multiple times for many, many hours.
 
Because of that, we had a pretty low-key first day of vacation. We were all exhausted, and both the baby and I were battling colds.
 
Amazingly, the second night was much better. So much so that my husband and I even felt spritely enough to go for a morning run during his first nap. (My parents were on vacation with us, and always jump at the chance to babysit—sleeping or awake).
 
I had been an avid runner before having a baby. I even ran up to 36 weeks pregnant, although I certainly couldn’t run very fast or far. Being a mother has not afforded me much exercise time anymore, but I try to stay active as much as I can.
 
As my husband and I hit about a mile and a half down the beach, I huffed and puffed (and blew my nose about 100 times—sea air is definitely nature’s saline) and made a beeline to head back. Thankfully, my husband obliged. As I slowed my pace for the return trip, slightly cursing the distance back, I looked up.
 
I looked at the gorgeous South Carolina beach laid out in front of me. I looked at the beautiful Atlantic Ocean with the waves rolling to the shore. I looked at the kids playing on the beach, the dogs frolicking in the sand, the other runners and walkers. I watched my strong husband a few yards ahead of me taking long, powerful strides down the beach. I thought of how he stayed up with our son that first night so I could sleep and try to knock out my cold. I thought of my amazing son who had slept so well the night before and was now napping under the watchful eyes of his Gramy and Grampy. I thanked God for all of these blessings.
 
Sure, we were sick on our first vacation, and who knows what tonight will bring, but life doesn’t get any better than this. Nothing will ever be picture perfect. Things will always go awry. What matters is the love and support that comes from family and faith. It’s always easier to focus on the negative. But when I stopped and looked up and thought about all the blessings that I had, the negatives just washed away with the tide.
 
Amy Reed is a member of RENEW International’s Marketing and Communications team. A Notre Dame alumna, she and her husband recently welcomed their first child, a boy, to the family.

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