Last year over spring break, I traveled with Noah to Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, where I spent six years as a young adult going to college and grad school.
My sister thought I was crazy — traveling alone (a four-hour car ride) with a two year old while I was 24 weeks pregnant with AJ.
She was probably right. But that trip to Iowa City with Noah was one of the most special moments of my life.
Noah was perfect. Perfect. He never whined. He never cried. He wanted to do things. He giggled. I took him places that were special to me: we bought books at Prairie Lights; we drank coffee (and juice) at the Java House; we ate grilled cheese and fries at Micky’s pub (twice). Seriously, the best grilled cheese. Ever.
I also experienced Iowa City in ways I never had: the children museum, the playground, the hotel swimming pool, the children’s section of the city library. These were not the places of my Iowa City, the college town I once knew. Noah showed me a side of Iowa City I did not know existed.
And all the while, little AJ (only one pound of him) was with us, too.
This moment with Noah…he won’t remember, but I will. And I keep reminding him of it, every time we talk about traveling.
Noah is now obsessed with maps. He makes maps, paints maps, reads about maps, puts puzzle maps together. Every day he says he wants to go to Africa on Safari. He reads books about the continents; (he can name all 7). He makes his dinosaurs travel to China. He talks about going to Alaska and Delaware — places I want to take him soon. (I’ve been to 48 states; these are my final two).
This excites me. The idea of traveling with my boys — especially as they get older. I want to show them the world. I want to be there when their mouths drop open at their first glimpse of the Grand Canyon and when they put their toes in frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I want them to want me to be there with them — and I know, eventually, I will have to let them go explore on their own, and as I type those words (let them go) I am crying. I am crying because I know, eventually, I will have to. Let them. Go.