Hello Manila, and we meet again! I just missed you a little. I think the airport is a bittersweet place. It stages the greatest human drama. I liked the airport 7 days ago but hated it yesterday again.
It was on September 20, a day before my 2?th birthday, that we left Manila for a city located in Northern Mindanao where my husband is currently deployed. It was another Mommy milestone for me since it was the first time that I traveled with Noa without any other adult companion. It was just me and my 1-year-old toddler this time.
This is Noa’s second airplane ride. She had her first around this time last year when she was only 2 months old and we were bound for Cebu for our family vacation. The first travel was almost a breeze because I traveled with 8 other adults with me.
Our flight was at 2PM this time. In my opinion, it was the best flight to take with a toddler. She was alert, happy and energetic and I did not have any problems bringing her. I guess one of the reasons why I feel confident in taking a “solo flight” with her is that Noa can already walk. At times that I needed to make any transactions like checking in our baggage or taking our luggage from the conveyor, I could just take her down and let her walk.
One important tip I can give you when you’re travelling locally with your child who is under 2 years old is to always make sure that you have a copy of her birth certificate and your valid ID. I have heard from an Anti-Human Trafficking Conference before that I attended that no one is allowed to travel with a minor without the consent of the mother or its legal guardian. If you’re travelling with a minor who’s mother or legal guardian isn’t traveling with the child, you should secure a permit from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). I believe that this is one of the security measures of the government to eradicate Human Smuggling or Trafficking.
In our situation, I traveled with Noa so I just needed to present a copy of her birth certificate from the National Statistics Office together with my government issued ID.
I also have to mention that trolleys and backpacks play a major role in our journey. We brought 1 trolley and 1 backpack in this travel. The backpack was my hand-carry which contained all the necessary stuff that Noa would need like the following:
- 2 pieces disposable diapers
- 2 feeding bottles
- 1 pack of baby wipes
- 1 baby blanket
- 1 toddler hat
- 1 hand sanitize
- 1 travel-pack of tissue
- 1 pair of socks
- 1 jacket
- 1 pack of her favorite biscuit
- 1 tetra-pack of her favorite drink
- 1 favorite toy
I have a small reusable and foldable shoulder bag made of very light but durable material that I used to hold these items together while inside the backpack. So when it’s time for me to put the backpack inside the compartment, I could just easily take out the shoulder bag from the backpack since it already contains all that we need.
Make sure that if you’re traveling with a toddler, have a hearty meal prior the trip. This is one of my mistakes! I was very busy packing our stuff that morning that I forgot to eat lunch. I just bought food and ate while at the boarding gate.
We had a smooth travel. There were some turbulence at times but I don’t think my daughter recognized this. I also have to thank the nursery rhymes stored in our iPad because it kept her busy and quiet the entire duration of our flight. We arrived safely at 4:30PM and we were fetch by my husband at the airport.
Before going to our real destination, it was almost dinner so we had to stop by a local restaurant.
When we arrived at our home for 1-week, Daddy instantly takes charge in giving Noa a bath.
Every single morning spent in Daddy’s workplace was so special to me because it gives me utmost joy to see my daughter and my husband together. As a woman married to someone who works for the military, this scenario is not ours to enjoy everyday unlike any another normal families. Like what my husband says, I have to be strong for Noa because I’m his wife. And since I’m his wife, I am somehow married to understand his profession and that makes me an Army Wife.
Seriously, until this point, I know I have already said so much about our visit to my husband’s workplace, but it seems that I haven’t really gotten into the part that I could pour my heart out.
My daughter and I are not like any other military wife and child who live near their soldier. Sometimes, my husband and I talk about the possibility of moving to the city near his area. Sometimes I insist, and we always end up arguing about it. Why? He thinks of our security.
My husband and I argue about meeting in between the two camps of HAPPINESS and REALITY CHECK. As a wife and mom, I care about how short this life is and we should spend every single time with each other. My husband acknowledges it but says he’d rather endure the pain of working and living away from us than losing focus on his work and is always bothered by the thought concerning our safety. That is the reality we face.
If there’s another word to describe my experience as a wife with this whole travel thing that we had, I’d say, LIFE CHANGING. If only I could take a photo of every single camp sites I’ve seen and visited there, it breaks my heart. In my head, how could these men endure this kind of situation every day of their lives? No ready supply of water, erratic electric supply, no soft mattresses, with a very small television, poor mobile phone service provider, worst, far from their wives and children. I’m not saying this to demoralize everyone who reads this but I just hope you find in your heart to recognize and appreciate our troops and their families. I’m speaking as someone who is married to one of them, and I admit, still at some areas of my lifestyle is still comfort-oriented. I am still a work-in-progress. I still have a lot to learn.
Our soldiers need our support. We owe a portion of our peaceful sleep at nights to them. I admire my husband not just because he is my husband because I have personally seen how he pours his heart out in working together with his troops. I have listened to how he instructs, educates, disciplines them like what my husband does to his own daughter. I am truly proud of him. I am proud of how he has become now since I first met him. I truly miss those 7 nights that when Noa is soundly sleeping beside us that he would tell me stories of his day at work and his plans for our family, with the only difference that I can feel him beside me as he says them.
I’m not good at goodbyes, and my husband knows this full well. Whether I bring him to the airport or vice versa, it has always been the same. I cry every single time. For 5 whole years that we’re together, this fact about me hasn’t changed but it improved. I used to cry a river during the first few years but now I cry less. My husband was brave enough to tell me last night that he feels very sad when he took us to the airport.
As a mom, I fear that Noa would grow up seeing me like this every single time we take my husband to the airport. I have to outgrow this because my daughter is also growing up to be a smart little lady. I don’t want to give her a piece of my pain. At this point my only heartbreak is at times, Noa doesn’t want to come near her Daddy. I couldn’t blame her for this. I couldn’t blame my husband for this either.
I always say that being an Army Wife and Mom is a calling from God. No one could really fully understand the heart of an army wife unless you become one. It takes great courage to be a military spouse. I never dreamed of marrying a soldier, but I believe God has prepared me for this. God is requiring me to be here so He will provide for my every single need to accomplish this. I love my family so much. They are my everything. I have proven this to be true when I left my promising job 6 months ago.
To my husband: Daddy, I told you the truth when I said that this trip made me happy but did not enjoy it. I was happy because I really wanted to be with you on my birthday and our wedding anniversary. I also want to show Noa to you. I just hope it made you feel even just a little proud of how I raised your daughter singlehandedly. Thank you for trying to make it up to me when you took us to Starbucks because there was a promise you weren’t able to keep because duty called. Noa and I love you so much and we have always been proud of you.
Daddy takes us to the airport. Homeward bound to Manila.
Noa and I are not the type of who always pay a visit to where our man is deployed but it was certainly worth it. I’ve seen 7 days in a life of a soldier who happens to be my husband. His day was always busy as a bee and even us, his own family, had a little hard time to have a piece of his time. Tiring is an understatement because he took us everywhere he went while we were there. My trip with Noa was life-changing for me as a mom and a wife. I knew that the moment I embarked on that airplane back to Manila, my love, trust and courage were renewed.