My standard line on the eve of big trips is always the same and sounds depressingly oldman-ish: "We have more gear than Hannibal crossing the Alps." With a special-needs child, it's more like the Allies massing at Normandy.
Late Monday, nearly every inch of the living room was covered with stray luggage, toiletries and clothes. There's a suitcase filled with Hope's green Boppy (for lounging), a portable high chair (for eating) and cans of formula. Diapers and baby clothes line the sides. It's weighed on a bathroom scale nightly. 47.5 pounds! Still room for rechargeable batteries!
The Don't Forget Lists are everywhere: Car seat, bottle brushes, hearing aide lubricant, copy of Hope's birth certificate, Mylanta for the vacation, Mylanta for the plane, extra plastic syringes, oxygen attachments and extra Prevacid.
The loose ends could fill the space shuttle. Stop the mail. Arrange the complicated seven-point transfer that gets us to an airport at 5 a.m., Lulu to the grandparents, then the kennel, and our car somehow back to us. Find someone foolish -- or brave -- enough to administer oral bladder-infection medicine to our ill-tempered tabby, Jack. Coordinate portable oxygen.
And it's all fallen on Big Mo. Mr. Dithers has been riding me hard lately at work.
We leave Thursday for 2 1/2 weeks in Maine, visiting my family. We're fret the details: coordinating flights and hotels, how Hope will respond to a new environment and whether airlines still have honey-roasted peanuts.
The reward should be great: Family-soaked fun and a trip to the coast. When Will was in the NICU, I used to cradle him and tell him how we'd play by the ocean. I'm haunted that we never got the chance, but delighted Hope can dip her toes in salty waters, look at snails in tide pools and smell low tide, the best bad smell in the world.