This weekend I took off for a weekend away. I took a vacation day Friday and headed out alone to the downstate baby shower of Lois, my good friend from college. Jacob's existence is probably part of the reason I haven't seen her in three years, since her wedding. Between her schedule, my schedule, and a period of time where leaving Jacob and pumping all weekend seemed impossible, it just hadn't worked out. I had to miss her bridal shower because it happened right around the time Jacob was born, and besides that very busy wedding weekend, I hadn't seen her since. And there hadn't been a lot of emailing either, but I was determined to go down there for this shower and make up for lost time.
I decided to make a weekend of it, though Lois had a busy weekend herself so I had to make some other plans. I took the long way down on Friday and stopped through Geneseo (to buy a baby t-shirt for part of the gift) and Corning (to check on some stuff at the glass museum store) to break up the trip. I also had the option to stop in Binghamton to see my oldest friend (since Kindergarten), Heather, but in the end I just wanted to get to my destination as soon as I could since I hate driving in the dark. The drive was very pretty. Most of the leaves were gone, but the sun made the remaining rusty reddish-brown leaves look gorgeous. There were also some snowflakes that didn't stick, but some of the cloud formations that resulted were pretty cool. I got to do some shopping once I was down there, and spent some time at Panera utilizing their free wi-fi until I could head to Lois' house for the night.
It was nice to catch up with her, though it was definitely crazy seeing her pregnant after considering her wedding was the reason for my last visit. We had a lot of catching up to do and there wasn't a lot of time, but it was fun to see her not-so-new-anymore house and hear how pregnancy has been treating her. The shower yesterday morning was lovely (amazing brunch food!) and they got some great gifts. It was fun to see all the baby products again, though it left me wishing even more that my body would get its act together and let us try to get back in the baby business again.
After the shower I headed out toward Binghamton to stay with Heather overnight. We spent the evening working at her husband's orchestra concert (more fun than it sounds! There were cookies!), then got ice cream with her husband and father-in-law. This morning we went to church, which was interesting in more ways than one. First, everyone there was so nice! The congregation is small and Heather is a teacher at the school there. The members are mostly on the older side, and many of them greeted me and were genuinely interested to hear my back story. Second, the church has a new pastor, and he's so young! I'm not sure I've ever been to a church where the pastor was younger than me! Young and fresh is good, though! Third, I had a chance to see a lot of the Binghamton flood damage in person. As you may recall, the Binghamton area got slammed in August by a passing hurricane's rain, and there was widespread flooding. It was pretty crazy to see major businesses--Home Depot, McDonald's--still closed months later, and old Victorian houses with nothing inside them, some offered for sale "as-is". Sad stuff. We actually went to a newly reopened Pizza Hut whose trademark red booths had been replaced with plain old tables and chairs. That was odd! The visit with Heather was a good chance to catch up and reminisce about some of the nearly 30 years that we've known one another (well, 28, but who's counting? ;-) ).
I did the drive back this afternoon and came back to an empty house. Boo. A little while later, Craig walked in with a sleeping Jacob over his shoulder. For the second day in a row, Jacob fell asleep around dinner time. Yesterday he woke up at 10:30pm and stayed awake until 2:30am! Thank goodness I wasn't here, because that would have sucked. I couldn't risk that tonight because we have to be up for an early doctor appointment tomorrow, so I woke up the sleeping monster sometime after 6pm and endured his wrath for a while until he really woke up and realized he missed me. I got a big hug and an "I love you" tonight, so that was pretty awesome.
I missed him a lot while I was gone. A lot of people asked about him--probably because a lot of the folks at Lois' shower knew I had a baby right before the wedding--and the whole baby thing definitely made me think about him in simpler times. I didn't miss the misbehavior, of course, but I missed his sweet smile and his hugs. Coming back to a way off schedule child wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, though. However, I suppose it's the price I pay for some alone time to think, shop, talk uninterrupted, be spontaneous, and pay attention in church.
This whole weekend was a bit of a test run for three weeks from now when I pack my bags to head out to Portland for five days to see my new nephew Max and the rest of my brother's family. I can't wait, but admittedly I'm a bit nervous. It's not often I fly...alone...for five days...away from my child. Jacob was only six months old when my niece Kate was born, and with nursing and general concerns over leaving Jacob, I didn't get a chance to go visit. That meant that I didn't see Kate until she was over eight months old. I made a promise to myself to see this one early on, so this is my chance. I'm excited, but considering the stress of making sure things are set up when I leave (and of not having any control over things when I'm gone), I'm already a little nervous. I'm always nervous about flying, but the fear of flying with a child is even more intense. Yes, it will probably be fine, but it's still scary. I want to make sure the boys are prepared for life alone for a few (more) days, and I also want to ensure that I don't come back to a little boy who's fallen into bad habits. I'm definitely more of a planner than Craig (at least as far as Jacob is concerned), and sometimes I think Craig thinks about what's fun first, and what's better in the long run second. Sometimes it provides a good counterbalance to me, but sometimes (like the wacky napping this weekend, brought on by an ill-timed soccer game and football party) it makes things a little tougher. He might pay the consequences when they're alone, but I don't want to come back to find our good routines are out-of-whack, either. I know they'll have fun while I'm gone, but there's definitely more to it than that.
Alas, I have three weeks to obsess over that. Right now, I'm just grateful for the time to spend with two good friends and a little time alone for myself. It was a great weekend and I'm just happy to be back to the smiling face of my sweet boy.