We had a full Memorial Day weekend. For me, the weekend started on Thursday when I drove to Princeton for my 15th reunion. Princeton’s Reunions culture is unique to the university and it is, um, special. You can go back for your 2nd or 37th reunion and there will be people there from your class. The “majors” (every 5 years) routinely draw close to 50 percent of the graduating class, plus their spouses and children. The party lasts for three days, with beer drinking in outdoor tents nightly, culminating in the “P-rade,” in which the alums all parade past each other in costume, waving signs about their year. And by year, I mean everything from 1936 (someone is still alive!) to 2016. I did not know about Reunions when I elected to go to Princeton, but my sophomore year I stayed on campus to work student crew for the 15th reunion. The whole thing blew my mind.
Anyway, I had chosen enjoying my 15th reunion as my Q2 goal in the “relationships” category. And I did! Partly it is that I felt in a good place to go to my reunion. It makes small talk easier to be working in the field I want to be working in, and to have a relatively functional family life.
But it wasn’t just that. I planned to have fun too. I met up with a good friend of mine on Thursday and we went out to dinner together, and then chatted with people and danced at the 5th reunion tent (more of a party!) until 12:30. Then we slept in the dorm room she had rented for the weekend. Sleeping in a dorm room single bed again after all these years was something! But I did all right. I think she slept until 10 — not me, I can’t seem to — so I went up to Nassau street for breakfast and then took off for home (it’s a 1-hour drive).
I worked for the day, went in the pool with the kids, and then when my husband got home, we left the kids with a babysitter and drove back out to Princeton for a second night of festivities. (My husband is a good sport — he wore his official class of 2001 T-shirt!) We talked with lots of people, and danced to an 80s cover band before returning home around midnight.
Saturday dawned too early. The baby got up at 6, so I was tired, and we had a whole 3rd day of Reunions festivities to get through. But I rallied. We drove back to Princeton with all four kids, and went to a chemistry lecture featuring explosions, dry ice, and other fun stuff. My niece got an award during this, which is why we went, but my 6-year-old in particular was into the fire and loud noises. We went over to the 15th Reunion tent for lunch, and so the kids could play in the bouncy house there, and eat candy and popcorn and play with other ’01 offspring. There are a lot of ’01 offspring! For whatever the Princeton Mom wants to write about how we’re doing it all wrong, my classmates are both fertile and accomplished.
Eventually it was time for the P-rade. Unfortunately, it was also 90 degrees out. Three out of four of my offspring were not all that excited about watching old people parade in front of each other in the heat (I would imagine that 3 out of 4 ’01 spouses felt likewise). So my husband took them over to my brother’s house to play. I stayed with my 9-year-old, who was fascinated by the whole thing. Like, seriously fascinated. He and I paraded with the 2001 crew, and he had a grand old time getting high-fived by the graduating seniors, and the various people who gave him candy along the route. He now wants to go to Princeton, which I am all for, except for the fact that they will be admitting approximately zero percent of applicants by then. I think the odds are reasonable I would not have gotten in now.
After, we went over to my brother’s to meet the rest of the crew, and then my husband and I went back to Reunions for one more night of drinking Kona in the tent before we collected the children around 9:45 and headed home where, blessedly, the baby slept until 7:30!
But oh no, we were not done with our weekend yet. We had not seen my husband’s brother and family, who live in Maryland, for a while. Their children are exactly matched in age with ours. So we drove there for the day, swam in their community pool, let the kids run wild in the basement, and then drove home in the rain from 7:15-9:30 P.M. or so.
Unfortunately, the baby was up at 5:30 A.M. on Memorial Day morning. I was dragging, but we filled the time by heading over to Wegman’s for a massive grocery shop (they are open 24 hours!). The larder was bare. $300 later it was not. Normally my little dude likes grocery shopping, and he was excited for about the first 2/3 of it, and then he began throwing stuff out of my cart. So there was a lot of racing through the aisles. I managed to get a run in, and then a nap afterward, and a swim in the pool. The weather forecast had said rain, but the rain was over by 8 A.M., so we cooked out at night. The 9-year-old had been pushing for the beach, but after all that running around all weekend I decided that was going to have to happen sometime in June. He and my husband and the other big kids went for a bike ride instead. The two boys are now big enough to pedal their own bikes around. My 4-year-old rode behind my husband on the tag-along, and was pedaling hard enough to be helpful! They are growing up. I am telling myself that as I am going crazy chasing after the toddler, who among other things took the 15 seconds I was going to the bathroom once today to run over to the side of the master bathroom tub, climb up, and attempt to leap into the bath. Good times.
In other news: Have you taken a full, 2-consecutive weeks vacation? I am writing a post for Fast Company on how (and why) to give it a whirl. I would love to include some stories of people who have done it! As always, you can email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.