Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Thank you - Ripplewood Foundation Scholarships

I would like to thank the Ripplewood Foundation for the scholarship that I received towards the LLLI International 50th Anniversary 2007 conference fees.

I met the incredible Dr. Jack Newman in the elevator, the awesome Teresa Pitman in the registration line, and one of our very own dynamic founders of La Leche League Canada, Margaret Bennet-Alder, waving our flag proudly ahead of 44 Canadians at the Parade of Nations. I was eager to meet as many as I could of the very many amazing women and men dedicated to creatively alleviating the incredible challenges of breastfeeding world wide, including the bold Martha Sears family and the tireless team from WABA.

I cannot begin to describe the memories and inspiration I have experienced over this very short weekend. You can only imagine the emotion of sitting in a ballroom of over 2500 like-minded people, your tribe, from your very own planet earth, as hundred's of candle lit 50th Anniversary Baked Alaskas were marched in.

As I absorb the whirlwind of experiences, I am only disappointed that I was unable to attend ALL the sessions and I look forward to listening to a copy of the Conference CD and re-listening to sessions 116 "The Soul of Discipline" and 221 "The Mothering Art of Making Relationships".

It was exciting to see the birth buds of LatchOn projects that have a potential to reach billions of breastfeeding mothers such as lone leader of China, Ivy Makelin's "ID #2659 - Chinese Translation of LLL Leaders Handbook" and Canadian Leader, Karen Grace Clark's "HealthCare Bridging" proposal. All worthy and affordable pioneer projects requiring less than $3000. - $10,000. to launch. Remember to see www.LatchOn.org to contribute and even let your not so wealthy friends know about it ;-)

As to what to share with my co-leaders, leader applicants, group helpers, and mothers at home, I'm sorry to say that unfortunately, there was no secret to face the challenges for the next 50 years. I do come back with refreshing ways to describe what we all know in our hearts to be true, and with renewed conviction that our work is extremely important, affecting issues beginning with basic breastfeeding and going beyond, from our very own backyards to backyards around the world.

I have to also thank the tireless conference organizers, the courteous staff of the Chicago Hilton Towers, and the kind helpful people of super green, clean and safe Chicago for making a perfect experience.

Blessings to my roomates, Jo-Anne Elder Gomes from the Maritimes, Margaret Bickmore from Colorado, Valerie Morris, my dear neighbor and kindred spirit from Brampton, for making my home away from home. To my joy luck "sisters", Tara Leigh Vandermeulen with the best tatoo in town (and I want one too ;-) and Ruth McAlister, Goddess of Hearts Delight ... you're the best! Like old friends, fathers, children, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, I thank you all!

And finally, with bitter sweetness in my heart, I admit that I was too fearsomely awestruck to visit The Founder's Lounge, the revolutionaries who wore pearls, the six out of seven women who began La Leche League 50 years ago, to be so close as to catch their gaze, eye to eye, firm and friendly, like angel-mothers to us all, as they get ready to pass the torch on for the next 50 years...

"You can do it ... just do it!"