Now I love traveling, but don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to be home after a trip. Last week, a group of youth from our diocese (led by my husband) headed up to DC for the annual March for Life. Clare and I were also able to join and this marked my 10th year in a row to participate in this yearly celebration of life and peaceful demonstration in our nation’s capital. Of course we’d been watching the weather forecast and knew that an epic blizzard was headed that way. So needless to say, plan B’s were in the works in case we were snowed in. And oh did the snow come!
Fun fact: Jason and I were in the DC area for both Snowmageddon in 2010 and now Snowzilla in 2016 – the only record snowfalls there since we’ve been alive. How about those odds? 😉
We headed over to the pre-March festivities on Friday, the anniversary of Roe v Wade. It was such a bizarre feeling. The weather was cold of course, but it didn’t seem like a massive blizzard was heading our way. After hearing some dynamic speakers, the March officially started and everyone was ready to get moving. Typically it’s more of a shuffle than a swift march due to the number of people packed into the streets but this year, we were moving right along.
The snow started falling towards the end of the route and was absolutely beautiful. By the end, Clare was crying, was totally over it, plus needed a nap/snack. Our group hustled back to the Metro and headed back to the hotel to hunker down for the impending snowfall. And it snowed.
And snowed some more.
Thankfully we had warm shelter and plenty of food and weren’t stuck on a bus like others. (though hey, they made the most of it!) Our original flight was cancelled, the Metro we depended on was closed, and we hoped to make it out on Monday. (which, praise God, we did!)
So us pilgrims made the most of it. We had a day retreat that Jason masterfully put together on Saturday in a small conference room that the hotel let us use. There were great talks, mass, and a holy hour along with times for fun and fellowship. Although, I must admit, I missed most of it. But I quickly learned…
…toddler cabin fever is tough.
Throughout the whole trip, Clare and I joined in with the group activities as we were able, around nap times and earlier than teenager bed times. Which is fine, such is the mom life, especially when your hubby is in charge of the group and dealing with crazy curveballs. But after being cooped up in close quarters, Clare started going stir crazy. During one of Jason’s talks, she would. not. sit. still. and wove in and out of the youth the entire time, wanting to play and get their attention. Then during mass, she played the same game.
It was ok at first, but then got to be beyond distracting and I got annoyed. She refused to stay with me at the back of the room and no toys or snacks would convince her. On top of that, she was tired and started throwing a fit complete with pulling my hair and slapping me in the face. I had enough. With tears welling up in my eyes, I darted out and headed to our hotel room.
And I cried. Like, seriously bawled. The pregnancy hormones played a big part I’m sure, but this mom just felt fed up and frustrated. My mind and emotions were running with thoughts of “Why did I bother coming this year when I can’t even fully participate?” and “What am I thinking, traveling to World Youth Day this summer with a toddler AND baby??” to name a few.
Thankfully Clare settled down and took a great nap while I calmed myself and got some much needed quiet time to just think, pray, and chill. And I quickly realized that I did need to be there. I was growing as a mom and a person, learning how to navigate life more independently without always having help available. I was gaining experience and knowledge of what works when traveling with littles, which will seriously help this summer at WYD. I was acting as an example of the culture of life by being there with my toddler and obvious baby bump, even though it was exhausting and difficult at times. I was being an example of marriage, family, and motherhood to the youth in our group. I was showing how motherhood is worth it, despite the challenges, which is what women in crisis pregnancy situations need to hear and see.
God surely wanted me to be there and once I got over my own stir crazy feelings, hormonal emotions, and insecurities, I’m beyond blessed to have been stuck in that blizzard and experience this year’s beautiful March for Life madness.
…were any of you at the March for Life this year? What was your experience?
…do any of you moms have crazy toddler travel stories and similar challenges?
…any advice for traveling overseas with a toddler and baby this summer?