Flying Solo

Dragging a baby halfway across the world is silly and brave. I'm proud of how well Lavinia coped physically but I was surprised at how challenging it was for me mentally.
Photo: Sara Heidinger Photography

Dragging a baby halfway across the world is silly and brave. I'm proud of how well Lavinia coped physically but I was surprised at how challenging it was for me mentally.

The low-point was arriving in California. That is when LAX threw down the gauntlet.

Lavinia slept three hours during the first 14-hour leg- which meant no sleep for Momma. The exhausted baby finally fell asleep on me, in her carrier, when we were waiting in line for US customs.

I couldn't believe it. No crib, no comforter, no white noise and not on schedule. My perfectly crafted routine- abandoned. This was the first time I realized that like any human, if she were tired enough, Lavinia would eventually crash.

This may seem like common sense to most people. I was far too tired for common sense.

At customs, I got grilled for not having a letter of permission from ‘the father’ to prove I’m not kidnapping my own child.

Then my favorite part- retrieving our checked luggage in order to immediately re-check it for the next leg. A nice man offered to help me with my suitcase. I had him grab the same bag and let it go three times before I realized that it actually was MY bag. I was so fuzzy I forgot what my own suitcase looked like.

While awkwardly leaning backward to avoid disturbing Lavinia’s sleepy head, I had to drag my large checked-bag in one hand and carry-on with diaper bag in the other...up a long ramp. My lip started quivering and eyes welled with tears. I tried to stop the abusive thoughts.

Who is this mother I had become? She was not at all what I imagined. She was nervous, stressed, and she lived and breathed according to a schedule. She didn’t trust herself or her instincts. And worst of all- she constantly berated her efforts with negative and critical thoughts. Not exactly a role model.

I must have been a sight because an airport staff member saw me and offered to help me with my bags. I gratefully accepted.

Lavinia woke up just as we were going through security a second time and we both made it to our connecting gate. My mother met us there and flew with us to Toronto. She held her granddaughter while I surrendered to a few hours of sweet sleep.

And we all survived.

This was just another step in the process of letting go. Letting go of the illusion of control.

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Dawn Rieniets is both a visual artist and brand copywriter. She uses her MA in English, journalism and sales background to craft engaging brand identity copy for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) globally.

Dawn exhibits artwork independently and with groups; Thou Art Mum and Melbourne and Victorian Artists (MAVA). In her online store, you can find original pieces, wall art prints, and other home decor. A few times per year she accepted personalised and sentimental art commissions for clients.

Dawn creates out of her home studio in Wurundjeri country, the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne.
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