so, to sum it all up, the trip to canada was fun, exhausting, tearful, happy, and a little bit painful. i had more than one person tell me on day 1 of our trip that wishing for tristan to have his own seat in the plane would only end in disappointment. it was a full flight. and yet, i prayed and prayed and God said "ok". the 2 temper tantrums that he had in the san diego airport (one right in the middle of the whole shoe-removal, stroller fold-up, paperwork finding fiasco) faded into a distant memory as he happily licked away at his first lolly pop ever, while rummaging in his very own elmo carry-0n for crayons and stickers to play with. i'm thankful that we played it safe, borrowing a portable dvd player from friends (thanks, janet!) because a lolly pop and crayons and stickers can only entertain for so long before "baby einstein" comes to the rescue. he was napless that day, greeting grammie and grandad with a zoned out stare while i rushed to give hugs.
what ended up becoming exhausting for me was The Sleep Issue which seems to keep popping up and haunting me from the day he was born. of course, he was sleeping in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar house and, though i had brought plenty of things smelling like home, he screamed as soon as i walked out of the door. already tired from a full day of travel, i consented to kneel next to his bed and lay my hand on his back until he fell asleep. i told myself as i knelt there that this would NOT become a new habit and that he'd learn how to fall asleep on his own the very next day. ha ha ha (that is my bitter, mirthless laugh). he never did get used to sleeping on his own and, even though i'd stay with him until he was asleep, he would wake up sometimes 6 times per night calling out for me with a frightened cry. even his naps were interrupted with wails, so again i would kneel down and lay my hand on his back and hush him back to sleep. if he was wound up before bedtime, it would take him 30 minutes or more to fall asleep. now, i know that many parents stay with their children, either rocking or holding them until they fall asleep, but going from leaving him after a goodnight kiss, to sloooowly removing my hand and holding my breath and tip-toeing out of the room after 30 minutes on my sore knees, well, i guess i was just spoiled before because i found it really difficult. the worst part about this Sleep Issue is that it has followed me home! after 10 days of mommy's hand on his back, he refuses to fall asleep any other way. the first night back home we tried letting him cry, but when that never seemed to end, we scrapped that idea and i'm now gradually helping him to fall asleep on his own in stages. its easier on my nerves this way.
despite the lack of sleep, we still enjoyed ourselves immensely. every day we'd do something with my mom. we got to eat at the newest tracy cakes, whitespot, tim hortons and of course we ordered in panago one night. we shopped, (stopping for coffee, of course), walked around mill lake on the one rainless day, and even got to watch a dvd together during one of tristan's naps. my brother and sister, james and cherie managed to come over nearly every day and james treated us all to a feast at his place one evening. i even had a chance to sit and chat with a few dear friends before heading up north to the family reunion.
the reunion was fun. it was great to see so many people that i hadn't seen since my wedding (and who really gets to chat with all of the guests at their wedding?) there are a few cousins i wish i'd talked to more, but with 18 cousins plus spouses, that was difficult to do. tristan had a blast with the other little kids there and constantly wanted to play outside, even though it was SO cold! the reunion was held at a camp where my brother and sister in law live with their daughter, so it was really special to be able to see their home and the gorgeous surroundings they live in. tristan and i were spoiled and got to sleep in the guest room in andy and cara's house rather than in the cabins that everyone else slept in. this allowed cara and i to have a chance to sit and chat for a nice long time, which i enjoyed so much. they have gone through a really rough patch recently due to a miscarriage and it was amazing to see and hear how God has healed and brought them joy in the midst of their pain.
everything was going so wonderfully well and then i went and sprained my ankle. it was monday and tristan and i were due to fly back home on wednesday. my ankle hurt A LOT, but what ended up bringing me to tears was the thought of a stressful day of flying alone with a toddler and a sprained ankle. my husband came to my rescue by contacting the airline and asking that they have a wheelchair for me and someone to push me before and and after each flight. to be honest, the day we traveled home was the most relaxing travel experience i think i've had! people were SO very nice to me, especially the employees of alaska airlines. they carried my carry-ons for me, wheeled me through a special customs booth and security station and the people working there actually SMILED at me, have you ever seen such a thing from airport security workers? tristan either sat on my lap or held my hand and walked next to my wheelchair. at the departure gate, the lady i ordered coffee from creamed and sugared it up just the way i like it and brought me extra napkins and kept asking if i needed help. tristan got his own seat AGAIN on the second flight which was a sort of miracle and nodded off on me just as we were landing in san diego. my mom in law, chris had managed to get permission to wait for us right at the gate instead of at the baggage claim, where she wheeled us down to her car and drove us straight home to a man who was eagerly waiting our arrival.
of course i missed josh terribly. i'd wake up in the middle of the night wondering why he wasn't in bed next to me. we talked on the phone nearly every day, but i didn't expect to long for him the way i did. part of my longing was selfish; being a single mom for 10 days is no easy feat! but i really really missed him and tristan did too. he'd stand at the top of my parent's stairs yelling "da! da!" and, when that yielded no results, he'd point to the telephone and tell me "da." he found many temporary "daddies" to play with until his real one was discovered, though. my brother james, my sister's boyfriend ben, grandad and, of course, plenty of cousins and great uncles at the reunion. a little part of me was slightly concerned that, when we arrived back home, he would turn away from josh. i didn't have to worry. the look of awe and sheer delight that crossed his face when josh came out to greet us brought tears to my eyes. he hugged his daddy so tightly i thought he'd never want to let go.
i wouldn't recommend flying alone with a clingy 1 1/2 year old and leaving your husband for 10 days (unless you don't like your husband very much) however, we did it, it was a GREAT experience, it was totally worth it....and i don't think i'm going to ever do it again!