Packed up and ready to go

The bags are mostly packed, the dog is with the mother-in-law, the taxi has been booked and in a few hours we should be off to Shanghai. All that is missing is sleep: for me, that is. Have to get up before 6am. I do like to get to the airport early, especially as this will be my first opportunity to experience an airline lounge.

Will Alex let me have any sleep? Waiting for him to wake up in the night…

The hardest part of packing was digital. Making backups of precious content. Extracting recordings of children’s television shows from the PlayStation 3 and converting them to a format suitable for a portable player. Preparing music. Packing all the wires and gadgets ready for the trip, doubling up for Alex. B is usually happy with the inflight entertainment or hotel television stations.

I wanted to spend the night before departure in a hotel close to the airport or the railway line there, but the options were too expensive, too troublesome in their own right.

As usual I have misgivings about this trip. I do regret missing out on Bangkok, flying the venerable Qantas 747 there, eating tropical breakfasts and spicy dinners, the light of South East Asia, but I would not risk the troubles. Poor Kita, our dog, has to spend a few weeks without us, though he has another dog to play with down there. I regret leaving my colleagues at work, just hope that the baby waits until we return. They are good people, good friends, and very supportive, deserving of the same in return.

When we booked this trip I was at the end of my tether, utterly exhausted from combining work with looking after our son. I felt that I had not had a break in over a year, even on our previous trips where I looked after him while B relaxed.

I feel more relaxed now, more familiar with the routine, better supported at home. But I think, I hope, that now is a good time to go. Alex is so utterly delightful right at this moment (assuming he doesn’t suddenly wake up an cry) that B and I are desperate to spend as much time as possible with him.

Maybe the flights, the train rides, the long days will be a struggle with an 18 month old. I don’t know. It’s all new to us and it’s all new to little Alex. As I walked him up to childcare yesterday I realised that my first identifiable memory is of sitting in an aircraft when I was probably 18 months old as well. If we can give him such a gift then the trip will have been worth it.

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