The drive was strange. There was no one in the backseat. If I wanted to lean back and sleep, I could. Or I could read my books as long as I liked, or play my Nintendo DSi with the headphones on. It made me remember what we were like as a couple before Topher, and it made me remember talking about how much fun it would be to have a little baby to take everywhere. (To be fair, I had no idea at that time the amount of stress that travelling with an infant can bring, especially one who hates driving for any real distance.) Being the only ones in the car, we could appreciate being alone in the car on a whole new level, even while missing Topher at the same time. We really DID miss him, but we were elated at the same time.
Before the reunion, we met up for dinner with all our friends that were in town. TJ is part of a group of about 7 guys who have all been friends since middle school, and 5 of them were able to be there with their girlfriends/wives. And I have to say that this group of friends is AMAZING. I just love them all, and it's so great to spend time with any one of them, let alone several at once. One of the couples, Jon and Ashley, brought their baby boy Troy to dinner. He's just a day older than Topher, so I was enamored with him, watching ways that he was similar to and different from Topher. And before he left for the sitter's, I had to grab him from Ashley and give him a squeeze. My arms were too empty. It was amazing how very much like Topher he was, and yet how unique each of them are at the same time. Isn't he a DOLL??
Ashley, Troy, and me, the baby thief :)
After dinner it was on to the reunion. It was pricey and at a country club, so I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but my expectations fell a little short. It was a smallish room, with music that was WAY too loud (making it almost impossible to converse and giving me a headache that lasted well into the next day). It was fun to meet a few of the people I've heard TJ talk about, but most of the people he really hung out with weren't even there. So we claimed a little table and every once in a while someone would wander off and say hello to someone and then come back to "home base." It was funny how it was a little bit like actual high school, with a baseline level of awkwardness and little spikes of feeling out-of-place (at least for me). But I'm glad that we went, if only to say that we did. I would have been just as happy hanging out with our original gang of friends, though, which is why I think that our after-reunion party at Steak 'n Shake was the best part of the evening.
Jon, Mat, TJ, Andy, and Phil...what a handsome crew, right??
Group photo with the girls, which took about 8 tries because our photographer was a little drunkety-drunk-drunk :)
The next morning we met at the zoo for some more time together, even though we couldn't stay very long.
Strolling through the zoo
The perfect ending to our babyless weekend...remembering how it felt to be a family of two
We had a great time. If we lived closer to the other couples, we would spend so much more time with them because like I said, they are all so darn lovable. :) But I have to say that the cherry on top of the weekend was coming home and finding Topher just perfectly happy. When we walked in the door, he looked at us and reached out to me when I went over to him. No bursting into tears, no trauma done. He was totally fine. He got a great report from Terry and Kathy, and I was just so proud of him for being such a flexible and happy little man. Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for making this weekend possible, and for giving us our first chance to sleep ALL NIGHT LONG in a very long time!!! We are so grateful for the chance to get away, and even more grateful that Topher feels so safe and loved in your home. Another big thanks to Mat's parents, who always put us up and feed us when we come to St. Louis--you're the best! And to Mat, Angie, Phil, Kate, Andy, Anne, Jon, Ashley, and Troy...it was soooo great to see all of you and we can't wait to do it again!!!