So, we survived. All of us. Will, M, Grandma. And me.
Saturday morning, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I had packed Will on Friday, but I packed and repacked twice more that morning, just to be sure that he had everything that he might possibly need.
After dropping the dogs and their favorite boarding place (really, it's like a hotel for dogs, they LOVE it), we headed the hour north to Bellingham, WA, where my in-laws live.
Bellingham is special to M and me, because we both were students at Western Washington University, and that is where we met our senior year. When M proposed, he took me back up to campus. His plan had been to propose to me in the same classroom where we first met. He had even called ahead to make sure it would be vacant at a certain time. However, when we got there, a class was in session. I remember laughing because I was pretty sure what was up and he got all upset when there was a class in the room. . . I had to gently remind him that it is a school, after all! I just remember how nervous he was and that he took his coat even though it was a warm day, since the ring was in his coat pocket. Since M never takes a coat anywhere (he is a shorts and sandals guy the minute it turns March), I was even more suspicious. So, after the classroom mix up, he took me all over campus, trying to find other "meaningful" spots. Finally, we went back to our car, and he was thinking about taking me to my old apartment and proposing in the hallway where we first kissed. But then he saw it. . .
Probably the least romantic spot for a proposal when you think it terms of aesthetics. There was an old cement tunnel that connected the campus to the commuter parking lots. This is where M first asked me out on a date by saying, "Do you have plans for tomorrow night?"
So, when we got to the tunnel, I suddenly knew that this was where "it" was going to happen. Sure enough, he proposed to me right there, surrounded by cement, chain link fence, weeds, and a little of our own history. He asked me, "Do you have plans for the rest of your life?" It was a perfect moment. I don't think he could have picked a better place. About a minute after the ring was on my finger, a passing student offered to take our picture.
Gosh, we were so young there.
Clearly, Bellingham has some strong ties for us. It's also really convenient, because M's family all lives there, so we even had some babysitters in town. In particular, M's mom, who has been begging and pleading for the opportunity to watch Will for a night. So, in we came, with bags of food, clothes, toys. . . oh, and of course, the baby! We got everything set up, and based on the advice of several friends, we didn't linger. While Will was happily stuffing his face with his latest favorite food (homemade mac & cheese), we kissed him good-bye and beat a hasty retreat.
We stayed at this nice hotel, the same place where we stayed the weekend that M proposed to me. It is located within walking distance of a historic part of town, Fairhaven, where there are lots of shops and restaurants. We walked around, ate a fantastic lunch, and then did some wine tasting. After that, we went back to the hotel to relax a bit, before heading out to an amazing dinner.
It was a really good time, and there were moments where I *almost* forgot we even had a baby (not really). I didn't get teary eyed when we left and we didn't even call once (okay, so I texted once and she sent a text video, but that doesn't count. . . right?). It was what we needed to reconnect and focus on just each other and remember why us two crazy kids even fell in love in the first place.
The next morning, we woke up early (it's a habit by this point), had breakfast, and went to get Will. I was like a little kid, bouncing up and down in the seat and clapping my hands in glee. M laughed at me, but I was so excited to see Will that it was ridiculous! He was asleep on his grandma when we arrived, so I had to wait a little longer to get my eager hands on him. But when he woke up, oh, what a smile he gave me and he leaned towards me with his chubby arms outstretched. And that was when I cried. When he was in my arms again and his little body was curled into mine, I lost it a bit. Not rivers of tears or anything, and with Grandma, Nana, and M watching (and laughing at me again), I kept my emotions mostly in check, but oh, it felt like heaven to have that little boy in my arms again. It felt like home.
But I think that's the best part about going away, even for less than 24 hours. After a rest and some adult time, I was so ready to have him back. Not that I was really ready to give him up, but being a full time mom 100% of the time is more wearing than I think I even realize. I don't think I know how "on duty" I am at all times until I am not. I am eager for this responsibility, don't get me wrong, but I think it's only human to need an occasional respite. And I truly feel as if I am rejuvenated and a better mom for it now.
Of course, I need to keep this in mind. I turn (shhhh. . . .) thirty this year and M has planned a two day weekend trip for us three whole hours away from Will. I get nervous just thinking about it. This weekend was kind of a training exercise for the big event that happens in just a month's time.
But considering how well this weekend went, I think I will be ready. Or at least be able to fake it.