Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Heading Home (and photos from the New England Retreat)

I'm sitting here in the Dallas airport. I'm not quite sure why I had to fly through Dallas when I was trying to get from Chicago to Salt Lake City – but somehow I couldn't find a direct flight. I'm also not sure why I have a nearly 3-hour layover when there was an earlier SLC flight that lined up perfectly with my flight from Chicago.  I saw that earlier flight on the monitor and got excited about the possibility of getting home in time to see my cute kids before bedtime. I asked about that flight and they said there were seats available. But they wanted me to pay a bunch of money to make the switch. Oh, well, I tried. So here I am, listening to elevator music and trying to get caught up on a few things so I can be a little less behind when I get home after being gone for a week. I found a seat here in the airport with a built-in footstool thing. Feels really really good to put my feet up.

It's been a wonderful week of sharing and learning and growing with other wonderful moms at the New Hampshire and Chicago Retreats. But it's also been a long week involving lots of work and travel with precious little sleep. I sure miss my family. I'm so excited to melt into my husband's arms when he comes to get me at the airport in a few hours. I can't wait to give my sleeping kids a hug and kiss when I finally get home tonight. Spending the past week at two different Retreats sharing ideas with other moms makes me think about how blessed I am to be a mom. And sharing stories about my kids and family in all my presentations sure makes me miss my kids and family.

At the close of these Retreats, I encouraged everyone to pick ONE THING they're going to do differently or add to their lives when they get home. They've got whole notebooks-full of notes to implements bit by bit as they move forward – but starting with ONE thing is manageable. My one thing that I'm going to start with is this: I'm going to get the word "hurry" out of my vocabulary. We talked about what the "joy-suckers" are in our lives and I realized one of the biggest ones for me is hurrying.

I usually think I can do more than anyone could really do during most hours and minutes of the day. And I need to be way more realistic and less rushed. I'm always leaving too little time for transitions like getting in the car in the morning and getting ready for bed at night. And the resulting hurrying just doesn't make anyone happy. I need to spend more time helping kids get things together in the mornings and I really need to spend more time on bedtimes. I'm always rushing the kids to bed because I'm usually feeling spent and I got dinner on the table a bit late and we're right up against bedtimes when I start the bedtime routines. Then when the kids want to talk and are betting for a song and a story, I'm always saying it's too late. I need to start the bedtime routines earlier to make more time for talking (somehow bedtime is always when they want to open up), for reading, for snuggling, for singing lullabies (used to do lullabies all the time and they still ask for them – but “too late” gets in the way too much when really, a song takes what, a minute or so?).

Every time we have a Retreat, I think, wow, this is SUCH an amazing group of moms and I wish I could sit individually with each of them and just talk talk talk so much more. These Retreats were no exception. And I loved that they were a little smaller and more intimate than the 80-100 person Retreats we've been doing lately. I felt like I learned so much from the diverse group of deliberate moms I got to spend time with - most of whom didn't know each other at all before they arrived at the Retreat. Wow, there are some wonderful moms in this world! 

And wow, I'm seeing more and more that EVERY mom has her hard hard stuff to deal with. Some people's lives look all lovely and nice and we get that “grass is greener” thing going on – but dig a little deepers and it seems you'll always find there's plenty of hard stuff going on – kids with disabilities, divorce, depression, cancer, you name it. I find new heroes at each Retreat.

Moms are such amazingly resilient and compassionate people. And they're always so darn helpful.  At every Retreat, they're always pitching in to help prep and clean up food – even when we tell them this is their time to relax. 

I like moms. A lot. And I'm so proud to be one of them.

Another really cool thing about moms is that they are really good at posing for pictures. You can take one or two pictures and get a pretty darn good one (as opposed to taking like 500 and maybe getting a couple half-decent ones when you're dealing with kids!). Here's our wonderful New Hampshire group: 

Here's a discussion group in New Hampshire: 

And here's a tiny taste of the gorgeous scenery that surrounded us at the Retreat - we went on some lovely walks and that crisp air and crunch of leaves underfoot with the lake glistening and the leaves showing off their best stuff - ahhhhhh, it was perfect.  I just wish I'd been able to spend a whole extra day wandering in that New England fall splendor! 

We've got another wonderful Retreat coming up in Phoenix in just three weeks - it's filling right up so if you want to be there (or want to share the word with others), you might want to sign up soon. I get to do this Retreat with my sister Shawni and my partner April plus the organization, American Mothers, is co-sponsoring. Click here for all the info: Phoenix Retreat November 19th.
I'll blog about Chicago and the adventures I had with Saydi's family while in Boston a bit later. It's almost time for my plane – finally!


For the Love of Naps - Sarah said...

Hi Saren,
Short haired Sarah from the NH retreat here. It was soooo fun meeting you. I have felt the impact of the weekend sooo much. I hope it lasts! My Sydney didn't take a bottle the whole entire time! And refused to nurse at first but after an hour she did. Phew! And things have gotten back in a normal groove in the last day. Re-entry is hard. I hope you have enjoyed your re-entry. I will be following your blog now :) Thanks again for the amazing experience.

Taunie Reynolds said...

Sweet Saren, I loved your post. It makes me so excited to be a part of this, it actually gives me butterflies. Hope you find things well at home. I completely echo everything you learned this time and need to be much more realistic about time. Sweet time. Love ya, Taunie

Cath said...

Love the photos. And it looks like it was a wonderful retreat - with almost all new faces! Which is great! Wish I could have been there... xo

Swimmingmom said...

Thanks so much for making the NE retreat possible! My first goal is reducing the phrase, "in a minute". This first week back, I've really focused on putting things aside (like washing dishes) when one of my daughters proudly requests, "hey mom, come see this!" I so appreciate hearing your goals as well. thanks for all you do! (Donna)

Eyrealm said...

Wish I could have been there! It was so grat to see Magnificent Margaret in that group! So glad she was so generous to share her home and her incredible ideas. She is a fabulous advocate for deliberate Motherhood!

Congrats on a great retreat!


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