Wow! I don’t know if I could feel more exhausted right now because I haven’t really slept the last few days. I never sleep well in a hotel. My oldest daughter and I flew to Atlanta on Friday for her first live cheer competition of the season, and we got back late yesterday afternoon. It was our first time traveling since the pandemic began, and it was quite an experience. I was nervous about it and our chances of exposure, but I was also excited to be doing something that sort of resembled our old normal. We took every precaution that we could given the circumstances and will be quarantining ourselves for the next week to make sure we didn’t pick up anything we could spread.
The trip started out like a normal trip except having to wear a mask. We got to the airport in plenty of time to get through security and get to our gate. As we boarded the plane, the flight attendants handed us each an individually packaged sanitizing wipe that we could use to wipe down our area before we sat down. I had actually brought a small pack to do that myself but didn’t need to use them. The fact that the flight was full made me a little nervous, but I tried to put it out of my mind. I felt like most people were being cautious and trying to be safe. What I did not count on or consider was that since it was a night flight, the lights would be turned off, leaving the plane dark. This gave some people around us the opportunity to get away with pulling their masks off and not wearing them. I was pretty upset about it, but I didn’t feel comfortable enough to say anything. I just kept hoping the flight attendant would notice, but that didn’t happen because the flight attendants had to remain seated for the majority of the flight due to turbulence. It wasn’t just a little turbulence either. It was probably the worst I have ever experienced and certainly didn’t help my nerves. I get bad motion sickness too, so that was fun. Needless to say, the flight to Atlanta was not pleasant at all. I was so happy to get off that plane and to our hotel. Thankfully our flight home yesterday was not full or turbulent and everyone kept their masks on!
Typically, when we travel for competitions, we go out to eat and try new restaurants, do a bit of sightseeing, and hang out with teammates when they aren’t competing. That was not the case this trip. In an effort to minimize our interaction with others, we stayed in our hotel room the whole time. The only time we left was to go to the competition, and then we came right back after it was over. This was my first experience using Uber Eats, but it actually worked out great for lunch and dinner for the duration of the trip. The driver brought the food directly to our room and left it outside the door to minimize contact. It was perfect and super easy. We watched a lot of TV, experimented with new ways to do her competition hair and makeup, and just hung out together. It was kind of fun in a way because we just talked and laughed a lot. I know my opportunities to do that with her are dwindling since she will be off to college soon, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the young lady she has become, and I found myself really enjoying her company. Even though there wasn’t much excitement to the trip, it is definitely one that I am going to remember forever. Time spent with my family is the biggest thing that I have taken away from the pandemic. It has opened up opportunities to just be together like never before, and I will cherish this time always.
While we didn’t bring home the win, we came back with memories to last a lifetime. The girls killed it both days and placed third among a super tough division. My girl walked away with a renewed confidence in herself and pure happiness for the first time following a competition in a long time. I saw the same light in her eyes that I used to see when she first started competing in gymnastics return, and it was shining so bright. She even kept saying to me over and over all weekend that her eyes looked so blue. I think she was seeing that same light that I saw. I caught myself several times just staring at her during the trip thinking how beautiful she is and how much she has grown up. I am so happy that she has found a new sport that she loves and is excited to learn, improve, and give it all she’s got. Although it is a sport that I never saw her doing or ever wanting to do, she is thriving in the midst of it. I couldn’t be more happy or proud of her. It just goes to show that it is never too late to try something new and that hard work and determination pays off.
I am happy to be back home and to have gotten a full night of sleep last night snug in my own bed, but I already miss our mom and daughter time together. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but it is also the most rewarding. I would give anything to go back and do some things over so that I would have had more moments like this weekend. We rushed through so much over the years, and I hate that I didn’t take the time to simply just hang out with both girls more. COVID had taught me such a valuable lesson. NOTHING is more important or more precious than time spent together. Going forward I promise myself that I am going to take more of that time and cherish every single second of it.