They say you can’t go home again, but this weekend I’ll definitely try. It’s my 20-year college reunion, and I’ve planned a full weekend in Boston. It will involve revisiting the city, my old college hangouts, and most importantly, spending time with the amazing group of friends who shaped me more than 20 years ago. That also means my four-year-old will be spending the weekend with his Grammy and Grampy at their house in Connecticut, where I am originally from. This is a big deal because he’s never spent a night away from me. And full disclosure, I won’t miss him.
We never set out with the idea that he wouldn’t spend nights away from me, but it happened based on circumstances. Pretty much all my family lives back East, so whenever he visits Grammy and Grampy, it means we’re both there visiting them for vacation. He’s spent the night at his friend’s house, but I was there to babysit while his friend’s mom and dad were away overnight. This weekend, however, my son is at my mom and stepdad’s house for more than 48 hours without me. And I hate to say this, but honestly, I’m not anxious about it at all. In fact, I am ready for a full-on, kid-free weekend.
I love him so dang much. He’s funny, smart, sweet, stubborn, curious and all the things that define age four. My mom and stepfather never get to see that because we only come visit once a year. They miss out on the random “come over for dinner” or “can I take J to a movie?” moments that come with the wonderful passing of days. Seeing Grammy and Grampy always involves asking for vacation days, planning months in advance, budgeting to pay off the credit card after plane tickets are purchased, and planning a ton of fun things in the visit to Connecticut. But this weekend is a little different because all I did was ask for the days off and buy the plane tickets this time. Grammy and Grampy put together the agenda of fun while I head off to reconnect with 20-year-old Courtney.
I’m writing this on the bus from Hartford to Boston, taking a bus ride I took countless times during my college days, and there’s even a mid-90s playlist playing in my years and stirring up all kinds of bittersweet memories of the young woman I used to be. I liked that young woman a lot. She was so headstrong and had everything planned out: a broadcast journalism student who dreamed of producing for a network and living in a great place in New York or Boston. The idea of a family didn’t fit television news, so I never focused on it. Of course, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Somewhere along the way, my uptight, ambitious, East Coast-self ended up living in the Midwest, becoming less tense (ok, that depends on who you ask), leaving television news, and becoming a mom who is putting down roots in a city literally in the middle of the map. And surprisingly, I love all of it.
But I am glad to be revisiting 21-year-old me. College was the best four years of my life. I’ve got twenty years of perspective at this point, and a wonderful little boy to boot, so maybe by the end of the weekend I’ll feel differently. Maybe I’ll decide the best is yet to come (because it almost always is), but even if I don’t, it’s ok. I get to reconnect with all the good stuff. My son is connecting with his good stuff: his Grammy and Grampy who he doesn’t get to see a lot. He’s even spending it with MY grandmother, his 88-year-old Nema, who loves him so much.
I’m grateful for this amazing weekend that connects me to the past, connects my son and my mom with the present, and connects all of us to the endless possibilities of the future. All the emotions are present lately, and I’m grateful that I’m a momma, a friend, a daughter, a granddaughter, and filled with love.