Thursday, October 28, 2010

Power in New England

Thirty women. From different places, different faiths and different life paths. They came from Massachussetts, North Carolina, Connecticut, New York, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, and Virginia...

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To this destination...

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For one weekend. One common purpose. One important cause.

Motherhood.

In less than 48 hours I had a network of new comrades - exceptional individuals with diverse talents and abilities, all committed to doing one thing the best they can.

Mom.

Motherhood is one of the most noble causes of humanity. I believe its impact reaches further, runs deeper and lifts higher than anything else. But very few organizations nurture it, build it, better it.

I learned a great deal from this group of women. We shared ideas, posed questions and discussed how we could mother "on purpose" - how we could be more deliberate in the families we are creating. At one point I surveyed the room and just took it all in. Women coming together like this was inspiring, powerful.

And we found each other here.

Thank you Saren and April, for creating Power of Moms. A place with resources, ideas, and support that (I know this sounds big)... can change the world.

I'll write about some of the systems and ideas I plan to implement in the future. But if something like this appeals to you, start planning ahead. We're already talking about a reunion retreat next October. (Newbies welcome!)

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I was SO happy to be with these girls again. Saydi, Allyson, and Heather. We met sixteen years ago during college while living abroad in Israel. These women are beautiful, devoted mothers. I love them.

I traveled with my good friend Kelly. She makes me laugh, rolls with the punches, and keeps things calm. (Very helpful when I got us lost by the waterfront AND took a huge piece of black plastic off Saydi's car while pulling into her driveway!) It's true - I did. I know... ACK!

Kelly was the perfect travel buddy. When her husband dropped us off in front of Delta's sky cap, I only had one bag to worry about but for a brief second I felt my stomach somersault. The same fluttery flip I get every time I fly with children. I did a quick self-check. No children. No meltdowns to anticipate. No diapers to change on top of a toilet lid in the airplane. I realized this was the first time I had flown without babies and car seats in several years. Liberating.

Saydi picked us up in Boston. We owe her a gargantuan thank you for driving and putting us up in her beautiful home. Kelly decided Saydi is her new hero. I feel the same. But for me, she assumed hero status years ago.

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Here we are on Saydi's front stoop.

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I stepped outside for a few minutes one afternoon to walk the grounds and catch a glimpse of the open sea.

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Mums and kale everywhere - popping bright pinks, greens, and oranges into the blue sky.

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I loved this rock wall that meandered Wentworth road.

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Maples showed a collage of vibrant color on every leaf. That's the east coast for you. I miss it.

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Portsmouth couldn't have been more charming. I wish we'd had more time to explore the shops.

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These pumpkin guys were quite the sight - perched on every corner - threatening wild Halloween gestures with their long stick arms.

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Saydi and Kelly saved the day frequently with their iPhones. Apps, apps, apps. I'm telling you - there's one for everything!

My only regret? I wish we'd stayed one more night at the Wentworth to process everything we heard, take a long run, or write from the balcony of our room. I could have used an extra day of... nothing.

Maybe next year.


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Then it was back to Boston.

Copley Square, Quincy Market, Boston Commons, The North End, and Beacon Hill.

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I love Boston's history. This is one of the replica lanterns hanging in the Old North Church. Robert Newman is thought to have escaped out this window the night of Paul Revere's ride.

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The Public Gardens.

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Make Way For Ducklings!

McCloskey's collection of children stories is one of our favorites. (Thank you Mickey.)

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This is Saydi's daughter Hazel (same age as my Eliza). I wish we lived closer so they could be friends!

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Kelly, Saydi, me, and Saren.

Saren is Saydi's sister. Her family story is similar to ours. Five kids in five years with caboose twins. She was our fearless retreat leader for the weekend. Kudos to her for all her time and commitment to mothers everywhere.

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And a few of my favorite front doors on Beacon Hill.

Kelly had to keep reminding me (in her sarcastic way) that it might be tough to push a stroller over all this cobblestone so I would stop thinking of a way we could move our family east again.

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I do miss it.

Did I already say that?

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But west is where we should be for now. That I know.

As I put Eliza to bed Monday evening she said, "Mom. Don't ever go on a trip again. I missed you. For real. Really bad."

It was good to be missed.

And so good to go.

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I came home with power, perspective and proportion.

Just like I hoped.

I couldn't have gone without Doug (who got all five kids dressed and to church ON TIME! That deserves a serious boo yah!) and his parents (who spent oodles of time with the kiddos while pulling wallpaper in our kitchen. I could kiss their feet.)

So are you mulling the idea? Come with us next year! There's Power in New England. And we'd love to share.

10 comments:

  1. oh cath...it really looks like a weekend of mommy magic. so happy you could go. xox

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  2. Wow. That looks so great! I think it must be like how I feel after a good writer's conference. And what a gorgeous setting! I'm very jealous here.

    I have a writer's conference in NY coming up at the end of January, and reading your post is making me start to count the days...

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  3. if you really do have a 'reunion retreat' next year count me in! i went to the june retreat in st. george which was amazing - BUT i must say - fall in new england AND a power of mom's retreat would be heaven.

    so glad you got to go.

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  4. The pictures are amazing. It sounds like you had a great time. I'm so glad you were able to go! I love the sign in the window when you came back...so cute and so telling about how much your kids must have missed you! Can't wait to hear all about it!
    Love you!!

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  5. Cristie - it was magic!

    Brod - NY sounds awesome. Before you know it you'll be traipsing all over the country signing that book of yours!

    Kara - Yes - plan on next year! We want you there!

    Deb - I have lots to share. Can't wait to talk in person.

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  6. Looks like everyone had a fantastic time. I need to get myself to one of these workshops.

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  7. I'm jealous you got to be in the New England fall atmosphere. Gorgeous! I miss that part of Boston.

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  8. Hi Catherine- It was such a pleasure meeting you at the Power of Moms Retreat a few weekends ago. I just read Sarah's blog and saw your very funny time lapse video...it gave me such a chuckle on this early cold New England morning.

    Thank you for showing me your calmness..truly inspirational!!!! I need to get me some of that calmness...any ideas on where they are selling some??

    Have a great week.

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  9. Lovely time. I wish I could have made it work. I've been known to make the drive JUST for a canoli from Mike's.

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  10. Wish I could've been there! I'm so glad you got to go! Miss you!

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