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November 19, 2012 - Carrie Olson
I just finished packing my suitcase, and all I can think is “now what did I forget?” Shirts and dresses are crammed in the tightly zipped bag, clothing that probably won’t even be worn on this trip home. I always seem to favor a pair of old jeans, a baggy cardigan, and boots, anyway. On top of the pile of badly folded items is one carefully laid exception. A small stuffed animal for a very cute little lady. I chose a monkey as a Thanksgiving gift for my six-month-old niece Quynn. My sister, her mother, had such a toy as a child and called the beloved animal “Bonkey.” I feel it’s time for little Q to have one of her own.
I am so ready to climb aboard a plane and head for Iowa, for some old-fashioned holiday fun, comfort food, and the company of family and friends. It’s my first real trip back to the Midwest after moving to New York City, and I’m ready for it. I’ve grown accustomed to my new surroundings, the crowds, and flavor of the area; yet, there is really no substitute for the place I grew up. In the last month and a half, I have spent my Tuesday nights scouring travel sites in search of cheap flights. Thank God, I figured out that Des Moines finally has Southwest Airlines as one of its carriers. Seriously, so thankful for their excellent service and lower than low airline prices.
The last week has been spent in growing anticipation of departing the East for something familiar. I long to actually see the stars again. To feel the exhilaration of wide-open spaces. To experience the quiet of small town life, without the hustle and bustle associated with NYC. And to spend time with one of my favorite people.
Quynn is one awesome baby. For such a small person, she has a sense of humor, exudes intelligence, and has a fascinating curiosity. Although I am far away, I have been able to have some chats and laughs with her through the magic of Skype on a daily basis. I know that at approximately 9:15 a.m. ET, I will have about 20 minutes of face time with the cutest kid out there. Whether it’s a good or bad day, I know it will be even better after just a few minutes of seeing Quynn bounce around on screen. I play little games with her, while she sings songs or gabs aloud. I can’t wait to actually hold her and see her in person.
While I have spent my fair share of time babysitting and being around little kids, I never thought that I would become this exhilarated or attached to a baby. It makes me extra excited to have one of my own in the future.
I’m about to get in a taxi and head over for some lengthy airport security lines. But that stress feels like nothing compared to my anticipation of being in Iowa. Now, I’m thinking about how this trip will be so different than the ones spent in holiday past. Then, it was about spending time out in bars with old acquaintances, recalling funny stories or wondering what happened to so-and-so. This time around, all I want to do is be around the people I love, especially little Quynn.
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One of my recent Skype conversations with little Quynn.