Thanksgiving came and went more quickly than someone could blink and miss a small town. My first trip home was nothing short of amazing.

The days leading to the weekend crept and filled with unexpected travel anxiety. Never before had I felt so eager to hop on a plane and fly to Tennessee. The anxiety grew worse as I peered out our bedroom window the day my flight was scheduled to leave. A decent amount of snow rested on the frozen roads.

I timidly drove myself to the airport, an hour and twenty minutes away, in the deepest snow I’ve ever driven in–a whopping 3-4 inches. This might not sound like much, but for a Southern gal like me, it’s enough to shut down Nashville in a heartbeat. People in the South rush to the grocery stores like the world’s coming to an end while Colorado’s finest speed on the interstates without a second thought.

I planned every second of the trip like most aspects of my life: Sticking to a schedule and hoping for the best.

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Mom grabbed me from the airport and drove us straight to Grandma’s house. Needless to say, it was an emotional weekend. I cried at the airport, my Grandmother’s house, my Dad’s house, Caitlin’s house (my old house in Nashville) and our wedding venue, Goodness Gracious at the Readyville Mill. I would’ve cried when Matthew surprised me with an I-Pad Mini 2, my first tablet ever, but my tear ducts ran dry.

Most everything happened according to plan. Mom and I caught up with Tika that Thanksgiving evening before she introduced me to Taco, the new kitten. Friday morning, I met Tika and Nichole for Starbucks in Smyrna. I’m grateful for that hour, but it wasn’t enough. Thanksgiving lunch followed at Grandma’s house with my family, Matthew and Tika. We piled the table with casseroles, meats and dessert before preparing our own plates like starving savages. Like every other holiday, I collected a sample of the spread to take leftovers to my dad’s house, along with a bag of my Grandma’s Cinnamon Red Hot Candy.

Next, I hitched a ride with Tika to Jessica’s in Murfreesboro to meet the new baby, R.J. Matthew tagged along and spent most of the day with me. I’ve waited years to experience baby fever, and holding R.J. against my chest signaled something I’d never felt before. I think I finally understand how it feels to want a child.

Afterwards, I stayed the night with my Dad. Matthew kept us company till Dustin made an unexpected appearance. We polished off the night with Karin’s Custard and Smyrna gossip.

The following morning, I met Erika for more coffee. Then Dad, Chris and I arrived at Goodness Gracious, which I hadn’t visited since the wedding. I felt overwhelmed much like one might struggle to remember where he is after a concussion. The disorienting sight of our venue brought me to tears. The smells made me happy and sad for something I rarely experience anymore–my favorite breakfast restaurant on the planet… the place where I pledged my life to my love.

This historic wedding venue and restaurant captures that typical Southern rustic charm that many women dream of while planning their wedding. We barely scratched the surface when it came to exploring our venue options. We knew we loved Goodness Gracious’ food, and we would do anything for them to cater our wedding. So we looked at 3 venues and immediately settled on the Readyville Mill where Goodness Gracious relocated earlier this year. And the rest is history.

My Dad, brother and I walked the grounds and visited the altar. I hugged the post where we married, wishing I could take the altar with me. I remembered my worries of fitting 100 chairs into such a small space next to the river and laughed with my dad. It’s funny how the things we stress rarely become a problem.

Dad trekked us back to Smyrna to meet my Granny that afternoon. Her crisp, clean house looked like nothing much had changed, but it possessed a floral and feminine fragrance I never noticed until recently. I wanted to bottle the smell and store it in vial, but she was unsure which perfume she wore that day.

The party at Caitlin’s was slated for 6:00, but hardly anyone arrived ’till 8:00. In any case, the gathering felt like old times. It’s a feeling I can hardly capture with words. These friends I’ve had for years are a group of people I’ll never take for granted, again.

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I meant to meet Sadie at Cafe Cocoa that Sunday morning, but the hangover was too real. Sadly reminded of the consequences of partying too hard, I barfed off and on between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. while my aunt, grandma, mom, and friends came to visit. By noon I was back to myself, albeit exhausted and dehydrated.

The remainder of my trip was relaxing. Dad delivered Jim and Nick’s, and Tika arrived the girls. And last but not least, Jessica appeared with R.J. so I could get my baby-fix again.

The next thing I know, Mom’s driving me to the airport. In the blink of an eye, the weekend comes to a close. I cried when I met my mom on Thursday and cried again when we parted ways. Adulting isn’t easy.

Turns out, my flight was delayed an hour. And once I landed in Denver, the luggage carousel wasn’t operating correctly. The shuttle retrieved me about 40 minutes later. I made it home around 1:30 in the morning and finally crashed once I frantically submitted a group assignment for my class, which I thought was a few hours late but turned out to be an entire week early.

All that’s to say, I’d do it again in an instant if I could. The travel to the airport, limited amounts of sleep and a wicked hangover were worth it to see my friends and family. There’s still so much more to write about in general, but the buck stops here tonight.