Yesterday we drove my girl along the 15 mile trek that takes us to the airport, stopping for lunch at her place of choice, and then piled out onto the curb for hugs and kisses, bag checks, last-minute goodbyes and the chance to hold in a couple of tears so that I could be the strong one. She flew to Michigan with her Papa. For TEN days. And I already miss her terribly.
I remember my first trip without my parents, I can still recall those feelings of independence... the little bit of fear mixed with total excitement to be able to do something BIG. Flying without mama or daddy? That's totally BIG. And oh, my girl is growing. I love watching her, seeing her think and vocalize plans, think through decisions on her own and make choices. And as every parent comes to realize, there are times to step in and times to step back. And for the packing this week, it was a little bit of both.
My favorite tip on packing for little ones... make "Outfit" bags, especially when they're going to be traveling away from you. That way they can just pull out a bag for the day and everything, including underwear and accessories, are in the bag.
First, we picked out the clothes we wanted to pack, and Aliyah helped fill in all the details for each outfit, getting underwear, choosing the jewelry and hair accessories and gathering anything else she wanted to go with that outfit. Then we packed each one up into a gallon size ziplock bag, pushed out the air to save on packing space and threw them in the suitcase.
To finish off, we added some extra socks, her swimsuit, a couple sets of pajamas, shoes, a purse she can use with any outfit she wants and a sweater for that inevitable cooler Michigan weather... even though it's unseasonably warm this week.
She's got enough outfits to last her until I get to her in 10 days, and without having to figure out what to dress her in from a mess of a suitcase, her and Papa and Nana can all spend more time just having fun.
Now if I could be just as organized when packing my own bag. We'll see.