Every night I find a place to recharge the battery on my computer and my phone. It seems that it’s almost never in the same place as we are in a hotel or a child’s house. But plugging in is very important! Those “machines” have become my lifeline to the rest of the world, especially now that our children are far flung across the globe. I need those useful little gadgets to navigate my world. After last week I realized that "plugging into the “current” is nice metaphor for the importance of consistently recharging the batteries of the things in our lives that are really important. In fact, much more important than any electronic device.
As our daughters started getting married I sort of panicked! Had we talked enough about how important it is to be a mother? Had I told them that what they taught their children by word or by deed would go on for generations and generations? Did I tell them to expect both heredity (“buck teeth”) and environment (a home that negotiates difficult times well) would play a big role in their children’s lives and that nurture and nature would both loom large because we don’t “make” our children. They come who they are. These soon-to-be mothers needed to know not to blame themselves if they have a difficult baby who doesn’t sleep through the night for two years and how to be resilient if they have a child with special needs? Had I taught them how to simplify amidst multiplicity and the importance of taking time for themselves while slogging through the trenches of motherhood? Even if I had done an excellent job of all that, which I’m sure I didn’t, I realized that life requires a consistent re-charging of those very important issues of womanhood and motherhood.
At the arrival of our first grandchild, I realized that I’d better act on my hunch that getting together to plug in to each other once a year and to use our brains to talk about issues surrounding womanhood and motherhood would be valuable and pretty important, Since then we have had a conference almost every year with our daughters (married and unmarried) and then with our daughters-in-law as they joined the family. We called it the Mothers and Future Mothers of Eyrealm conference or MFME!
Our agenda differs from year to year. After our first grandchild arrived I suddenly realized that there would be a tiny slice of time to do this without worrying about the care of grandchildren while their moms were gone and it was slipping through our fingers. We took advantage of that moment of time with only one daughter married and one grandchild and loads of frequent flyer miles (in the old days when that meant lost of free tickets) when the five of us took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe. We drove like crazy women for a week through the cities and country side of Italy, Spain and France, talking and laughing and arguing (we have our share of strong wills in the gene pool). This was before the in-laws arrived. Since then four wonderful women have married our sons and have joined us one by one. They were a leavening to the loaf.
From the beginning I realized that I was the learner, not the teacher! Their magnificent minds and intellect, their dedication to talking care of themselves and their children physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually is truly inspiring!
Our trips have ranged from our European adventure to a quick overnight trip after our family reunion at Bear Lake to Lava Hot Springs, two hours away while the husband cared for the now huge gaggle of kids. We crossed our fingers they would all still be alive when we returned.
This year that grand re-charging took place last week at Laguna Beach, CA! We have tried several locations through the years but in our present situation since we have women flying in from NYC, Boston, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Palo Alto, Utah and Hawaii and one driving from San Diego, that was our cheapest and simplest option. Thanks to my darling parents who scrimped and saved all their lives and left my sister and I their simple little house and farm in Idaho for our inheritance we are now able to get everyone together at least once every other year.
What a time we have!
We went on hikes:
We had each sent in our favorite post, article or essay from the year via email to the others so we could discuss it with each other which comprised hours of never-ending fascinating conversation!
We read my favorite book from my “childhood” as a mother called Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Her wisdom and insights on simplifying, solitude and the nature of relationships, even though it was written 50 years ago applied exactly to all of us today no matter what stage of motherhood we were experiencing.
We loved the the cute house we rented because it was full of shells. Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote the book while on a two week vacation (without her five children) at a seaside cottage and related each stage of life to a different kind of shell. The fireplace and the showers in that house were all filled with shells which were delightful little reminders of what we had learned together from her words of wisdom!
Of course, a VERY important part of what we talked about was FOOD, glorious food!
As well as what we felt!
The star of the show was our new two-month-old baby Zara whom no one had met except me. Talk about an adorable child! Here she is with our baby:
And our surprise visitor….who had also never met her….. flew in just for the day to see her (and of course the rest of the less-important crew).
Here’s grandfather meeting Zara for the first time. A pretty happy couple!
There were eights pairs of hands (besides mom Julie) always reaching out to hold this delightful child the entire three and a half days!
There were spectacular sunsets, especially glorious to those of us coming from the dead of winter!
And lots of beautiful places to explore.
We even found some cute friends on the beach who are in a BYU singing group to whom we taught the art of jumping pictures! I have to say that you can tell the Eyres. They are the best jumpers!
We all went home re-charged, invigorated, refreshed and re-committed by the vast variety of wise and wonderful women with brilliant, deep minds who not only celebrate but magnify the importance of motherhood and who are the mothers of our 24 stellar grandchildren.
Although we can’t plug into each other’s current every day we did set some goals together and will keep encouraging and recharging each through prayer and that wonderful medium called cyberspace until we are together again in July.