Sometime in December 2002 Spiral came home from work and said he could get us round-trip tickets anywhere Lufthansa flies for $100 a piece. Talk about a deal! We have always wanted to go to Europe, and decided this was our chance. We offered to J and A to go along with us, but unfortunately they couldn't get off work, so it was just the two of us. Spiral had one week of vacation he could use for this. One week isn't much, but it was all we had.
So he bought our tickets for the first week of February, 2003. I was to be 5 months pregnant for our trip, so our next step was to clear it with our doctor. I had had a normal, uneventful pregnancy, and I was in my second trimester, so there was no problem with me traveling. She gave me a copy of my file to take with me just incase I would need medical care while I was gone, and instructions to get up and exercise my legs regularly on the plane to avoid blood clots.
My parents were happy to drive the 5 hours down to stay with Gabriella while we were gone, as we just couldn't see taking a 22 month old with us. It would disrupt her schedule too much at such a young age, with the time changes and sight seeing. She wouldn't get anything out of the trip at her age. She was safer at home with her grandparents, and we would enjoy our first real vacation together.
Gabriella was of course my main concern. The longest I had ever left her was a weekend, and I certainly had never been so far away from her before. Coupled with the fact that I was hormonal and emotional, I knew this would be the hardest part for me. I dictated that we redo our wills before we go to be sure that she would be taken care of if anything should happen to us. (You have to remember that September 11th was only 18 months in the past, and the war in Iraq was just on the horizon.)
Wills done, papers signed granting my parents permission to seek any medical care Gabriella may need, and a last minute emergency filling at the dentist's office for me, we arrived at the airport about 2:30pm on January 30th. We said our goodbyes, and I leaned over Gabriella's carseat to kiss and hug her, told her we would be back soon, and Grandma and Grandpa were going to take good care of her and have so much fun with her. Tears in my eyes, I walked away to hear her crying out for me, for it was only then that she realized we were leaving.
I got it under control though, and Spiral and I walked in and took our place in a very long line at the Lufthansa counter. I was nervous, for even though I had flown quite a bit I had never been on such a long flight over the ocean. I was excited anticipating our week (9 days). I was saddened by my seperation from my baby. I was also annoyed by the song stuck in my head. Standing there I hear Spiral singing under his breath "Barbara Manatee (manatee, manatee), You are the one for me (one for me, one for me)." We both laughed, and he leaned over and sarcastically whispered in my ear "I'm so glad that was the last song we heard!"
We got our baggage checked, got our boarding passes, and got on the plane without incident. I remember looking out the window of that plane. The sun was setting over the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and I was imagining how far this plane was going to take me. As we sped down the runway and took off, I started to cry, for it would be thousands and thousands of miles before I saw my baby girl again.