Cedric and I spent last week in Austin. It was his first pilgrimage to Austin, the first of many. Chris was back to work last week and I didn't feel ready to travel alone with an infant and a toddler and so Team Wharton was two and two last week.
I love going home in March, when the live oak trees are just beginning to leaf out and the city feels heavy with green, so different than the bright desert where I find myself squinting all the time. For the past two years during March trips to Austin I've been lucky enough to catch chilly spring rainstorms that warrant a fire in the fireplace while other days are warm and springy.
My parents still live in the house where I grew up, set on a lovely few acres of wooded land, and it will always be home to me. When Chris and I visit my parents we stay next door at The Bunkhouse, a guest house my parents renovated before our April 2010 wedding. But when I visit without Chris I stay in my childhood bedroom. And so I found myself back in a room where I slept for all those childhood and teenage years but now with my nearly three month old son. I loved it.
My parents are building a screened-in porch off the back door and we spent most of our time sitting there, only retreating when the rain became too heavy and cold. From our porch chairs we could see my mom's hens peck about and chase mayflies in the evening light, the flock of black-bellied whistling ducks that visits every morning and evening to eat the feed that the hens leave behind, and the resident screech owl who had just returned for the spring and perched in the doorway of his owl box.
Traveling with Cedric made me appreciate what I already knew: he is an easy baby. Every day we fell into our rhythm of eat-play-sleep, whether it was spent on the back porch, at a KGSR SXSW morning show, on a run to Central Market, a walk at Lady Bird Lake or visiting with friends and family. He nursed and was then happily passed to his adoring grandparents (Bootsie and Granddaddy, or G Daddy as Dashiell calls him) or relatives or friends until he was ready for a nap. Caring only for an infant, especially with all the extra hands, felt blissfully easy. In the evenings my dad wrapped Cedric in a blanket and walked him on our street until he fell asleep just like he did when I was a baby.
Before leaving I sat on the front porch swing with Cedric to take a picture, as has become the tradition. Being able to fit in this trip to Austin before my maternity leave is over is so special. So often when I'm home in Austin the days feel busy seeing people and fitting in my Austin favorites, but this trip felt long and the days were relaxing. Visiting my Austin home is just what I need to bolster my spirits before heading back to work and into the blazing temperatures of summer.
I'm already looking forward to our trip in May when all of Team Wharton is heading to Austin!