Like many people, with the holidays fast approaching we were faced with the decision of whether to travel to visit our family members or “ride [the pandemic] out.” We weighed our options carefully. We can’t imagine not going. On what will have been a year to the day since we last left Juneau, we’re taking off again.
We found a good price on tickets with no overnight layovers in SEA-TAC budget hovels, and booked them with the caveat that we could always postpone or cancel, but as we’ve already told the kids and bought them his-and-hers headphones for the trip… cancelling at this point is unlikely.
As it’s possible we’ll both have jobs again by January ’21, it was the right time to go. So as has never not happened to me when I have some travel on the horizon, I’ve started to become more introspective, to take stock of everything, to see this trip as a milestone. I breeze past the diaper aisle; my kids now argue with me in complete sentences.
How will we go to Wisconsin, fourth-worst state in terms of COVID stats, and not get COVID? Who knows. We’ve been careful. We will continue to be careful. We’ve also been stressed, and will continue to be stressed. At this point I’m more worried about my mental state when I have to say goodbye to my family again than I am about getting COVID.
Imogen asked if we were going to stay in Wisconsin for a long time. We told her one week. She said she wished we could stay for twenty weeks. Wouldn’t you miss your friends here? We ask. She names her friends here, then goes back to rattling off what she would like to have matching with her cousin Stevie.
It was the same last year when we left California; she was inconsolable. Even if it is hard, and in a lot of ways because it is hard when our visit is over and we fly back to our little homestead, it is invaluable that, at least one time per calendar year, these kids take a seat at (or grab a cookie from) their grandparents’ table.
My neighbor walked by with her daughter, two years older than Imogen, when I was out shoveling. She said she liked my rabbit fur hat, which I bought at a flea market in Germany when I was newly pregnant with the four-year-old in the Disney princess dress light-sabering her brother as she launches herself off the couch. How fast it all goes.
This is how we will manage: one convertible car seat, one booster seat, and one army duffel at a time.