Kyle The Jetsetter
By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA
By now, many of you are intimately familiar with my parent’s condo in Florida and how special it is to our family. You’ve heard dozens of stories about our trips there, seen pictures of sunsets from the lanai or maybe even visited there yourself. What many don’t know, however, is that before my parents purchased the condo in 2007, we had already been traveling to Englewood, FL for the better part of a decade. Our first trip to the area was when my sister, Kelly, was 7 (she’ll be 28 in 2 weeks) and the island has evolved from an annual family vacation destination to a home away from home. The old Florida charm and laid-back vibe, sunsets over the gulf, fresh seafood and potent rum runners have led to countless family memories that I’m so grateful to have. This year’s trip was infinitely more special as it was Kyle’s first trip out of the state, and I wouldn’t have wanted him to go anywhere else. Even better was knowing that our whole family was going to be there – all three generations for the first time in Florida.
What we didn’t look forward to the act of traveling to Florida and flying with a 5-month-old. We knew that even packing would be much different, not to mention the additional headaches caused by shuffling an infant, stroller, diaper bag, milk, etc. through security and onto a plane. Once we were situated in our seats, the reality of flying with a child on your lap for 3.5 hours started to set in. During the first hour you’re guaranteed to lose feeling in at least one of your arms, and by the end of the second hour your praying for him to wake up so you can readjust your seating position. Just about everyone is aware of how tight airplane seats have gotten and after this trip I feel like they exponentially after giving up part of that precious space to a child. Aside from our arms going numb, Kyle’s first flight was an overwhelming success. He must have been born to travel, sleeping from wheels-up to wheels-down, making his parents very happy.
The timing of our trip couldn’t have been better either. We left CT on the morning the Polar Vortex was scheduled to hit. Flights from Chicago to Minneapolis were canceled and some of the busiest airports in the world were closed. Our flight path took us out of harms way and we flew due south from Hartford toward sunny Florida where we were promised temperatures in the mid-70s for the duration of our trip. It was our first vacation in a year and having the company of our whole family was much appreciated. With so many people eager to help us with Kyle, it gave Jill and I enough time to walk the beach, go out to breakfast or simply read a book without having to worry – a welcomed, albeit temporary, change of pace.
As with any trip, it was over way too soon. With nothing but sunshine in the Florida forecast it was hard to start packing to come home. I’m happy to say the flight home was as seamless as the flight down, and it was refreshing to land in Hartford in the middle of winter to 61-degree weather. With the anxiety of the first trip out of the way, I’m optimistic about getting on a plane again with Kyle in the future. I also couldn’t be happier that he can now say that he’s been to our home away from home. While he will likely have no memory of his first trip, the rest of us certainly will and he will forever have the pictures to remind him of what a great time we all had.