pre travel, traveling with baby

Fun while it lasted

When we received the save-the-date in 2021, we were hopeful we’d be able to attend our friends’ March wedding reception. All events would be outdoors. Our baby would (fingers crossed) be vaccinated by then! (I know, I know … you’re eyerolling at how naïve I was!)

Before the news broke that more research would be needed in order for the FDA to approve emergency use for the covid vaccine for under 5-year-olds, Bryce and I weren’t keeping our hopes up too high though.

“We can drive to Austin!” I optimistically said across the dinner table one night after baby had gone to sleep.

Bryce looked at me skeptically and reminded me that that would be two days worth of driving.

I Googled “Seattle to Austin” and replied that it’s “only” a 33-hour drive.

“Yeah, I’m not driving to Austin with a baby,” he said.

I somehow convinced Bryce that we should have a discussion about it. The part of me that yearned to get out of the Pacific Northwest, to be in warmer weather, to visit a new city (I’ve never been to Austin), was taking over. Our brief conversation somehow ended with if we got “approval” from a physician to drive that long of a distance with our would-be 9-month-old, then we would do it. He said the physician I consulted with could be my best friend, a family medicine doctor. (We knew our pediatrician would probably say it’s up to the parents’ discretion.)

A few nights after our brief discussion, I found myself closely reading our friends’ wedding website. I looked up each event location. I then started looking for Airbnbs in the vicinity. There were quite a few affordable options for the days we would need. I left the tabs for the Airbnbs I liked open to show Bryce later. I started researching things to do in Austin and made a list.

Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking.

I was getting swept away by just the thought, the hope that we’d be able to make this trip work. I hadn’t planned for a trip like this in more than two years. For a very brief moment, it all felt like “old times.” I was having fun researching and planning this elusive trip.

Driving from Seattle to Austin with a baby would have been super tiring. We would have just been there for 3-4 days since Bryce wouldn’t be able to take more vacation. I came to the acceptance on my own that this trip wasn’t in the cards for us. By the time I brought it up with my physician friend, my mind was already made up. She agreed with the decision to not go — unless we were to double the amount of time it would “normally” take to drive without a baby. I’m really sad we’ll miss our friends’ wedding reception. (They had a private wedding ceremony during peak covid.)

A few weeks ago when I ran into our next-door neighbor in passing, she mentioned that she and her husband went to a friend’s wedding in Austin. It was the first time they had left their baby since he’d been born. She said how she felt safe at the wedding since everyone had to be vaccinated and tested beforehand but it was weird how she and her husband were often the only ones wearing masks when they were out and about. She said it felt like the pandemic didn’t exist there and they were glad they didn’t bring their baby with them.

I already knew that Bryce and I made the right decision for our family, but hearing my neighbor say these things was the extra validation I needed to make myself feel a little better.

It was fun while it lasted.

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