As we got onto the bus to the airport before 7am on the day the Big Canadian Adventure was due to begin, I couldn't help but sigh at all those hours ahead of us. Work had managed to keep me so occupied in the days before our departure that I had managed, until that point, to put off thinking about what 16 hours of travelling with an 18 month old would be like. Not just any 18-month old either. Our daughter - remember? the one with the big lungs and stubborn will?
Now, over 24 hours later, as I sit in the dark of a Vancouver night - my body confused into being awake when all the extended hours of the previous day should have been more than sufficient to persuade it of the benefits of being asleep - I cannot believe how quickly the time passed.
The short connecting flight was a dream. Ok, the baby belt was not a big hit and it took some serious book and food diversionary tactics to stop the tears, but baby did good! We got to Frankfurt with our spirit and smiles intact.
The three hours before the big flight also passed with just enough time for the nappy change/recharge batteries/re-arrange plane seating essentials, and there's no denying the sight of the aeroplanes and the excitement of moving walkways and wide empty spaces to march along, parents in tow, were pretty impressive to one little chick.
When we finally made it onto the big plane, we managed a full agenda of food, books, watching the baby in the seats next to ours, scribbling, monitoring the tiny plane on the Atlantic map (hand outstretched soaring above her head 'whooooooo'), changing the odd nappy, sticking the odd sticker and wandering up and down the odd aisle making friends up and down the plane, to let the ten hours pass without much incident. Little Elsie slept for a little under one hour the entire time, and trying out the bassinet took a bit of persuading, but once she discovered she could almost climb out on her own the prospect of this forming part of her, and our, in-flight entertainment was all the persuasion she needed.
Once we arrived, the bright sun and fast paced chatter gave us the boost we needed to be tricked into thinking it was not the middle of the night, but the baby crashed on our way to the rental flat, and bar an hour or so of happily playing ball with Uncle Edd and Auntie Krista and putting up with a less happy bathtime ritual, continued sleeping off the experience for hours.
I find myself in that strange in-between world of feeling one time zone and experiencing another. With husband and baby snoring in the bedrooms, I sit and look out at our wonderful temporary view over the water, excited about what comes next but still wanting to hold on to the anticipation of now.