In May 2012 my husband and I re-located from Long Beach, California, to Iowa City, Iowa. Big change? Yes! Did I want to go? No! My daughter was born in California, my life began in California, and most important, all my Ergo-wearing friends were in California. I felt torn from my land, my heart a heavy weight wearing me down. But knowing I would spend the next six nights camping in Big Sur (one of the most fantastic places on Earth!) lightened my heart just a bit.
My 11-month-old daughter, my husband, our beloved 60-pound dog, and I piled into our compact car and headed to the mystical central coast. After 5 ½ hours of driving, we were thrilled to see the giant Redwoods approaching. However, we were not so thrilled to experience the vomit-inducing switchbacks; yes, my little one threw up for the first time.
The sun was setting over the Pacific Coast as we made camp and chowed down on grilled chicken and bread. My daughter Penelope was fast asleep in her Ergo for the night, and as I felt her head nuzzle against my chest, I inhaled the salty air of the expansive Pacific Coast and let my heart rest from aching.
The sun was reaching mid-sky the next morning as we set out for the first hike of our camping trip. Penelope rested snug against her pop’s back in the Ergo, and before we reached the top of Salmon Creek to view the water fall, she fell asleep for her first nap of the day. My heart giggled as I heard a little girl exclaim to her mom, “Oh wow, Mom! Look at that baby on her dad’s back in an Ergo, just like mine!”
Penelope took her second nap in the Ergo and every nap after that for the entire camping adventure. Penelope also breastfed, watched the sun set and rise, and danced to music in the Ergo. We cooked, crossed rocks, creeks, hiked to remote waterfalls, and climbed steep switchbacks in the Ergo. As Penelope slept on my front or rode along with glee on my back, I practiced one of my favorite hobbies — photography. I snapped pictures of California poppies and amazing sunsets. And, to the amusement of many campers, she even accompanied me to the restroom in the Ergo. “Oh, how convenient!” one mother exclaimed as we crossed paths in the restroom, “I need one of those!” So of course I told her all about it!
Every night as I walked through the campsite, Penelope’s heart beating close to mine, I hummed my little peanut to sleep in the Ergo. I wrapped my arms around her body, held her close to my soul, and reflected on my time in California. And as every night ended and the new day began, I embraced the beauty of the land and felt grateful for the opportunity to end my days in California among the majesty of Big Sur. On our last morning, Penelope snug in the Ergo, we waved bye to the Pacific Ocean, and headed to the Midwest with peace in our hearts.
While this adventure began with a broken heart, it ended with a mended spirit.
Happy adventures and peaceful dreams!
This post was submitted by Ergobaby reader Kendra Godfrey, as part of our Summer Travel Series. Kendra is a mother and wife by nature and marriage/family therapist by trade. She enjoys eating homemade cookies while snuggling with her sleeping toddler and soaking up information on attachment parenting and breastfeeding beyond infancy. She hopes to advocate for social change regarding these topics — making your own cookies included!