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For Your Marriage

Meet Sara and Justin. They married in June 2011, they welcomed their first child in August 2012.

Are We There Yet?

Sara: When we were first married, one of the decisions Justin and I had to make was how to spend holidays. Since Justin’s folks live ten hours away in North Dakota, it’s not possible to spend the holidays with both families.

Ultimately, we decided that one year we will spend Thanksgiving with my folks, and Christmas with Justin’s folks. The next year, we will flip-flop so both families have the opportunity to spend both holidays with us. As Gus gets bigger, Justin and I may decide to host, but for now we’re happy with the system.

This Christmas, it was Justin’s folks’ turn to have us for Christmas. For months, Justin and I have discussed whether or not we will go to North Dakota for Christmas time. The idea of a ten hour car trip each way with an infant has been haunting me for months! I kept picturing Gus going crazy in the car – and us not being able to stop.

After a lot of thought, we decided to go see Justin’s family, and we very strategically planned our trip there. Gus sleeps well in the car seat, so we left after I got home from work about 2 pm. Justin held off on giving Gus a nap, so he was very sleepy when we got the car in motion! Gus actually slept for the first three and a half hours of the trip out there, so that was nice. After a stop for dinner, we drove for a couple more hours until we were ready to stop for the night. Thankfully, we stopped about 8:30 pm, because it took a bit to get Gus settled down after we got checked into the hotel. The next morning, we got up and drove the rest of the way.

The car trip was not without its mishaps. We stopped at a fast-food restaurant that had the baby changing table in the handicapped bathroom stall. Gus got scared when he heard the automatic toilets and hand dryers turn on, and ended up soiling an outfit during a diaper change. On the way back, I ended up breastfeeding Gus in a gas station casino because Gus was too fussy to take the bottle.

There was a lot of excitement at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Gus had so many new people to meet, presents to open, and even a cat to watch. I had underestimated how difficult it would be on both Gus and mom to be out of routine. Especially difficult was trying to get Gus to nap, so he was extra-fussy the last few days.

Through this experience, I learned not to have too many expectations (either good or bad). No matter what I thought would happen (whether it was naptime or the long drive) it seemed Gus did exactly the opposite of what I thought Gus would do. I also realized how important it is for Justin and me to make seeing Justin’s family a priority. I especially noticed Justin’s good relationship with his grandparents, probably due in part to the many hours Justin spent with them as a child.

Justin: My mom said that my grandma had been waiting for this for months. Gus is her 6th great grandchild, but one of the first she has gotten to hold as an infant.

Additionally, I was somewhat surprised to see how hard it was for my mom when we left. It was amazing to see how much she could love Gus after so short a time. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised as I loved him from the first moment as well.

Sara: Due to the distance, seeing Justin’s family involves more noticeable sacrifices (including the ten hour drive). However, it’s so important to give both families an opportunity to know and love Gus!