Growing up my parents took my sister and I abroad every year, since we were born. I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world – America, Australia, Singapore and even Pakistan are just some of the countries I have visited. Back then it was just the norm for us to fly overseas every year, sometimes twice a year, and my sister and I really thought nothing of it, in fact learnt to expect it. Most years we stayed in a private villa with its own pool in Spain and the big trips would be over Easter, flying long distance for many hours to stunning destinations.
|Surfing in the Pacific|
|A very grainy photo of us at Disney for their 25 year celebrations|
I don’t think I ever really appreciated the experiences that were given to me on a plate as a child, visiting all those destinations and attractions and taking trips some can only imagine. At fifteen years old, scuba diving on the Barrier Reef, I certainly didn’t lay back and appreciate the moment like I should have, or how hard my parents worked to enable us to have those incredible memories.
Since leaving home and making a life of my own I have grown to appreciate the value of travel; that to enable myself to visit the places I wished I had to work hard and save harder. As much as I now appreciate the lifestyle I grew up surrounded by, I didn’t really grasp how fortunate I was at the time.
However a few years ago Mr H and I were given an opportunity that most can only wish for – we were offered a relocation to New York City. From being a teenager I had watched shows set in New York, seen how glamorous the lifestyle was and how intoxicating the city seemed to be. I had always wanted to be a part of this, if only for a short time. In 2009 that opportunity winged its way into our arms. After four years of trying to have a family, we decided to put it on hold and make the most of this chance.
|Excited in our NY apartment|
It was a scary time, but hugely exciting and we embraced it as much as we could. Little did we know how much we would take away from the experience – after only three months we found out we were pregnant with Miss H. From that moment on America become more than just a destination to us, it became the place that bore us something we had almost given up on. And with that it took a piece of our hearts.
Since we returned three years ago we have talked about the day we will return and show Miss H where she was born; where she was created and cherished. New York holds many special memories for us – our families visiting us, seeing the sights, experiencing both winter and summer out there, as well as attending first scans, hearing that little heartbeat and buying those special first baby clothes. It was where we held each other when we were told the pregnancy may not progress, where we nervously waited for doctor’s appointments and where we gasped as we saw those little fingers and toes on the monitor.
|First photo of the bump|
When I was five months pregnant we then moved across the country to California. This was where Miss H was born and so holds further memories – her arrival into our world, welcoming her home for the first time, those early days as new parents and wondering at the mammoth task ahead of us. We welcomed family once more and took trips to Santa Cruz, San Francisco and our first family holiday to Lake Tahoe. There were many a happy day spent just the two of us whilst Mr H worked, where we would lay on her playmate together or I would do silly dances to make her laugh as I was getting ready for the day. Mornings when I would lay her in our bed and we would snuggle together for a while, and afternoons spent strolling around our apartment complex, taking in the Californian sunshine.
|In Tahoe for our first family holiday|
|Swimming with my sister|
|Our little family in America|
Those memories are like no other to me and when I think of them I can see our apartment, hear the sounds of the world outside through the patio door and smell that beautiful scent of our baby daughter.
Whilst Miss H is a British citizen, she also has an American passport. At the moment this means very little to her – she knows she was a baby in America, but doesn’t really grasp what that means. I want her to be proud of her history and her birthplace and for it to become a part of her, as became part of us. It would mean a lot to myself and Mr H to be able to take her back to see all these places for herself and hear the tales behind them. At nearly four year old, these are the times when her first memories are created – wouldn’t it be something if those included her birthplace?
*This post is an entry for the #flying100 Family Holiday Challenge, celebrating how flying allows us to make memories and ‘be there’, in association with #flying100. Find out more at http://bit.ly/flying100.