Getting to Camp Widow this year wasn't quite as adventurous as last year's cross country trek to the conference, but it sure was another whirlwind weekend!
I'm within driving distance now that I'm living in California, but since Matt's parents live in Arizona, I drove Jacob and Sydney to their house on Monday. Visited for a couple of days, then that last night before I left the kids with their grandparents, Jacob's very first loose tooth (that was hanging on literally by a thread) fell out! Awesome timing - I was so worried I would miss that moment. He actually pulled it out himself - he had pushed it over with his tongue, and instead of it bouncing back up like before, it just stayed over and kind of twisted (you should have seen his face while all this was going on). He grabbed it with his fingers, and plucked it out of his mouth. Just that easy! Even though we were miles away from our home, the tooth fairy still came, too!
The next morning on Thursday, I had a very peaceful drive to San Diego. Thank you, Ginny and Roy!!! It's so nice to be able to leave the kids with them, and be confident that they're in good hands and having a great time. They even took care of our bunny, too! During one of my phone calls to the kids while I was away, Jacob proudly declared that the bunny is "still alive"- ha ha! Sydney had such a great time with Grandma and Grandpa that she threw a FIT when we arrived at our house and saw that we weren't at their house...
This weekend was just as wonderful as I anticipated. I was reunited with widowed people I met last year (we call ourselves "alumni"), and made even more new friends. I also had a chance to make hopefully a little bit of difference with some people newer to widowhood. Did a little volunteer work for the event, and had a whole lot of fun! Michele Neff Hernandez and her posse did an AMAZING job of putting all this together. Although I'm her assistant now, I just literally got that title and had very little to do with the incredible amount of work and preparation involved for this event. I seriously don't know when that woman sleeps.
It was SO great to meet new faces, be face to face with those I only have known through Facebook or through blogs, as well as be reunited with friends I have known for at least a year. Even did a little "bouncer" work, discouraging a couple of thugs from crashing our banquet to prey on the 200 gorgeous young widows in attendance (and the 10 handsome men - who knows what their intentions were!). Did a little more of that later at the bar some of us went to as well. I have always been very protective of my friends and family, and hate to admit that I rather enjoyed the opportunity to stretch those muscles. =)- Not only did I have a great time dancing to the music of the awesome band that played at the banquet, but there was another awesome band at the bar, too, and we ended up closing the place down just like last year. My good friend Mel gives a great account of some more entertaining details including pictures from that night, and my sista from another motha (who I finally got to meet!!) has some, too. You can read several other posts regarding Camp Widow on Widow's Voice as well. There is also a great article in USA Today about this weekend. Check back, because I'll eventually list all the blog posts I can find that mention Camp Widow 2010!
I was only nine months out last year at the conference. I was there to draw on the strength of others who had a little more widowed time under their belts, and just feel at home with the camaraderie of those who understand. I felt safe and embraced. This time at a year and nine months out, I had the same agenda, with the added benefits of being able to do the same for those who have been widowed after me, which was just as therapeutic for me as well as anyone I (hopefully) helped. As fun and rewarding as this weekend has been, it was also very draining. Of course, I'm sure seven hours on the road in each direction didn't help, and neither did getting pulled over for speeding on the way back to my in-laws house to get the kids.
Cop: "Why were you going so fast?"
Let me preface by saying, I always think I have a creative excuse for getting out of a ticket like, "I have to go to the bathroom really bad" or something stupid like that, but tend to just blurt out the truth when under pressure:
Me: "I'm trying to get home to my kids."
Cop: "Is this your current address on your license?"
Me: "Yes, sir - my kids are staying with my in-laws in Arizona while I attended a widow conference in San Diego, and I'm on my way to pick them up."
He asked me for proof of insurance, but unfortunately, I left it in my other purse at home. I put it in there with the intention of then putting it into the glove compartment, but that didn't happen. Oops. He went back to his car to write my ticket.
When he came back, I was crying.
Cop: "Why are you crying?"
Me: "It's been a very intense weekend."
I seriously don't think I cried all weekend at Camp. Don't ask me how I managed to pull that one off, but I made up for it on the way back to Arizona. By some miracle, he ended up only citing me for proof of insurance, and not speeding. Phew!!!
Got to Arizona on Monday, and left for home on Tuesday. I'm exhausted, but recharged from an inspiring weekend with my widda peeps. I miss them all already.