By Cassidy Dover: "Travel"
This entry is going to seem all over the place. All over the place is how our lives have been lived the past few years because I’ve become quite the traveler. Before we had kids, I would go and visit Ray or go on a road trip for no reason. It was easy! I could pack an overnight bag and take it on the plane (remember those days when we could bring our toilitrees on the plane with us?!) and off I’d go. Since we had Sheridan, things have changed.
I remember the first season I was going to be with Ray. I asked a friend to travel with me. I was afraid to travel alone with a newborn, clothes for the season, our three (yes we had three pets by that point) animals, and all the gear that comes with that. I had gotten Sheridan her own seat which meant I needed her car seat. I also needed her stroller, her pack and play, her toys, my airplane bag of books and crossword puzzles, toys for the animals, etc. Walking to the plane you’d think I was moving in rather than taking a four-hour flight. That entire season I’d travel that way. I put Sheridan’s stroller in a protected bag (I didn’t want all those germs and dirt to be near my daughter!), put Sheridan in a snugglie on my body, carry her car seat, my diaper bag, and all our other paraphernalia on the plane. I had it down to a science. People always offered to help me but I’d decline saying I was balanced.
That offseason we went to visit with Ray’s family. He was actually with me on the plane! Sheridan was about 11 months old or so. She was crawling, hated to be restrained, and just busy. We were in the waiting area at the airport. Ray went to get a cup of coffee. When he came back, it was with one cup of coffee. No drink for me. No snack for the baby. Just something for himself. As they told us they were preparing to board the flight I put the stroller in the bag. I picked up Sheridan and put her in the snugglie (which was now on my back because she was bigger), slung the diaper bag over my shoulder and grabbed the car seat with one hand. Then I pulled the stroller with the other. Ray had his computer bag pulling behind him and a cup of coffee in his hand. Everyone was a bit surprised, I think, that he did not think to offer any help to me.
Once on the plane I got the car seat organized, put Sheridan in and sat in the middle seat. As I got the diaper bag situated on the floor and sat down to put on my seatbelt, I turned to say something to Ray. He was asleep.
Ray slept the entire way back home. He didn’t hear Sheridan scream and cry. He didn’t know I had to take her out of her seat and find a way to keep her occupied. He snored.
I realize I should have been upset. I should have woken him up and made him help me out. The truth of the matter is that Ray sleeps in any object that is moving which he is not behind the wheel of. As a mom, I must change my habits to comply with the fact that I am responsible for the life of another. Ray, he travels mostly on his own. He doesn't need to adjust his thinking. Sure, I get resentful, but I accept it.You know what they say, "You have to pick your battles" and this one, really, isn't one of the ones I feel is worth the fight.One year we went on a trip to Australia. I told Ray I knew he'd sleep the entire way. Well, after hearing me say how he's absolutly no help when we fly as a family, I think he had something to prove. Ray was wonderful. He stayed awake and played with Sheridan. He taught her how to play the video games on the console in our headrest. He played games and colored with her as well. After some time the two of them fell asleep.The sad truth, I was awake the entire way! I tried to nap but something inside me just wouldn't let that happen. See, that's why I say, I just accept that Ray sleeps on the plane. Even when he tries to help out, I don't know how to accept his help.
I’ve had every travel gadget made I think. I’ve had the wheels for Sheridan’s car seat that makes it a stroller. I’ve had the special bag she can ride on . I even bought that chair that attaches to my pull-carry on she can sit. I’ve had the pack and play for her to sleep in, the roll-up toddler air bed, and I’ve even bought those travel backpacks with the games and everything packed in already for the child.
When I travel with Sheridan now it’s a bit easier. We each can pull a bag, or carry an animal, depending on the trip. She has her movies and her coloring books. I carry snacks and toys for her. I always pack a book but I don’t know the last time I really could read it.
I’m currently getting ready to go with Sheridan to where Ray is playing for the season. I’ve pulled out our clothes. We each get one bag. It’s a good sized bag, but not for the duration of time we’ll be away. It’s hard to figure out what we’ll need.
Sheridan knows how to help me. She’ll ask how many days and the weather forecast for our trip. Then she pulls out clothes to pack and shoes, too. She’ll bring me her hair accessories and her toys she wants to bring along. Then she’ll go and find her books that must come, too. Usually we then end up with some tears (not always just hers) as we pare down her choices to what will both fit in the bag and weigh less than 50 pounds.
At the airport we’ll get those looks. Sheridan will say, "I’ve traveled since I was 9 weeks old. Don’t worry. I know what to do." Security is cake. Sheridan will pull out the three gray bins, take off her shoes and unzip the bag. Then we’ll put the items in each of their designated bin and move right through. I always say we could go in the fast lane for business travelers, but we're usually redirected to the family lane. While on the plane, she gets annoyed if a child screams and carries on. However, she doesn't act like some fellow travellers who feel it's ok to say something rude about it. She'll often say, "Mommy, can you see if that sad child wants to color a picture or read one of my books?" She doesn’t understand the problem. To her travel is part of life. It’s not exciting (she doesn’t want to look out the window, she wants to close the shades so the light doesn’t leave a glare on her dvd player). It’s just a part of life.
In general we don’t travel with Ray. The times we have are few and far between. I think it’s easier not to travel with him actually. He’s just another person to pack for. He isn’t a help. It’s not his fault, he just doesn’t know our system.
I can usually pick out other players wives and families at the airport. Knowing what you know now, I bet you'd be able to do that, too. Please don’t ever hesitate to offer us help. Just don’t be offended if we turn you down. As overwhelmed as we may appear, the player’s wife probably isn’t. We each have our own system in place to make our day run smoothly.
Next time you are thinking of packing for that trip with your family, don’t despair. If you have two adults, you’ll be fine! If you need any advice, feel free to ask me!
Thanks for Reading,
Cassidy Dover is a real baseball wife and has been for more than 10 years. Her husband Ray, currently in the minor leagues, has spent part of 7 seaons in The Show. Cassidy lives somewhere in America with her daughter Sheridan. Right now, they're probably waiting for Ray to come home.