I spent the weekend speaking at a retreat for young moms. I got my fix of cuddling, cooing, rocking and pushing strollers with some beautiful babies. The weekend brought back bittersweet memories of being a young mom myself. In some ways, those long ago days when I was taking care of my babies, seem like one big under water experience, with the odd moments of coming up for air. This retreat offered these young moms the opportunity to emerge and catch their breath.
Erma Bombeck said it best –
When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.
It was also really special to see some familiar faces from when I spoke at this retreat last year. The babies are bigger and the moms are healthier.
My good friend, Karen, leads up an organization called Sunrise Pregnancy and Family Support Services and for the past twenty years, has been committed to assisting and equipping young and pregnant women, who are in need of support for a variety of reasons. The organization strengthens families through providing emotional care and meeting practical needs. Karen is one special woman whom God has used mightily in the lives of countless women in her community. She is deeply loved, respected and appreciated by everyone who gets to know her.
My partners in crime this weekend – two very special friends, Karen (L) and Linda (R). Linda accompanied me on Friday night/Saturday morning and the women really enjoyed her entertaining stories and her big heart. Thanks, Linda – for your input, wisdom and love.
I find great pleasure in watching these women enjoy the simplicity of the weekend – no children at their feet, (some moms with very young babies brought them along) no partners or husbands, no meals to make, no messes to clean up, opportunity to actually finish something they started, have time to play and best of all, enjoy the full freedom to take an uninterrupted and savored afternoon nap, is so desired. I do believe that what these women long for and love to do is simply sit and talk with each other – catch up on life, slow down the pace and laugh a little.
I spoke about friendships between women – how unique and uplifting they can be. On Saturday morning, we broke into small groups, each with women of different generations, sharing their perspective on various issues. It was wonderful to hear the confidence in their opinions and the conviction behind their decisions yet, they were all teachable and open to consider new ideas.
I love every minute of hangin’ with these women but I have to admit that I was exhausted when I arrived home yesterday afternoon – so much so, that I dropped all my stuff and collapsed on my bed for a three hour “nap.” I also had absolutely no trouble falling asleep and enjoying a full eight-hour sleep last night. To be honest, I’m still dragging this morning.
What a wonderful reminder about why women have children when they’re young!
Teen moms are courageous women.
Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
A. A. Milne