When Miley was about 4-5 months old, Brandon was contracted to design the outdoor space at a hotel in Miami. We knew he would be down there for 6+ months, and didn’t want to be apart that long, so we rented an apartment in South Beach. He went a few week early, found a place and started his construction. Miley and I packed only the “essentials” and made the 13 hour drive from Atlanta to Miami. * Admit it, you’re impressed. A newish, (breastfeeding, mind you) mom, a 5 month old baby, plus a German Shepard, all in a tiny little car for that long…. I know I was patting myself on the back. Any time I think about that trip and having to pull over, climb in the back seat to nurse, and then walk a dog so that it can use the restroom, I feel like a super human 🙂
We had been to Miami several times before, but “living” there was super different. For one, no one warned me of how lonely it would be in South Beach with a newborn while my husband was working all day. Sure, Miley and I strolled around taking in the sights and sounds, but it wasn’t the same as having another adult companion. I mean, Miley barely said a thing to me on our whole trip 🙂 Luckily, my sister and one of my closest friends came to visit & it made it SO much better. Not to mention, my sweet Grandma lives two hours away in West Palm Beach, so we made the trek often to spend time with her. I’ll always cherish how much time my Grandma was able to spend with Miley when she was a baby. In fact, she helped me feed Miley her first solids at six months AND she was able to bathe her in the kitchen sink like she has done with all of her grandkids 🙂
I realized pretty quickly that days needed to be planned out a bit differently with a baby; I couldn’t just crave a bagel, throw shoes on and decide to go buy one. I needed to make sure little miss was clothed, had a clean diaper, was fed, and nine million other things. The bag had to be packed with backup outfits bc BLOWOUTS, yuck!, nursing covers, and pretty much half of Target. Moms get me. It’s what you do. But, we settled into a routine, it became the new normal, and now it’s second nature for me to have 1,000 popups going on in my brain at a time.
I learned what times worked best for heading to the beach and what to bring to make it enjoyable for both of us. With an umbrella and some cozy towels, I could nurse Miley & let her take a nap in the shade, while I was able to read a book next to her in the sunshine. Together, we navigated what she liked and didn’t like, what worked and what did not. In the evenings, we were able to spend time with Daddy, hear about his day, and tell him about our adventures.
It’s amazing what you learn to do and remember when you become a parent. Plus, if you want to do something bad enough (like get out and go with a child), you figure out what works. I’m not the type to be stuck inside, especially when I’m in a fun destination, so I knew that slowly I would learn the streets, my favorite cafes and parts of the beach, and how to spend our days so that I felt like I truly knew the city when it was time to leave and head home. I walked endlessly during the day, sometimes with a stroller & sometimes with her strapped to my back. Still to this day, every where we go, it’s amazing to see how many miles we have walked at the end of the day.
Days like that, especially when it’s with the whole family, fill up my cup and make it pour over. Those are my days. When I can close my eyes at night and retrace the city, remembering what it felt like as a new mom carrying her baby around. Or, as an “experienced” mom, watching my kids take in the wonders of the world with their own two legs; I now get to hold hands instead of feeling the weight of them on my back. But I still get to feel them- feel the wonder they emit, hear the questions they ask and don’t ask. I don’t to plan nearly as much as I had to back eleven years ago on South Beach; older kids seem to just roll with the punches and adjust to whatever the day brings. Both are beautiful and sacred phases of parenthood and ones I’ll always cherish:)