Thursday, March 24, 2005 8:02 PM

On my retreat.... I went on an AMAZING retreat for mothers this past weekend, and my mom and her friends were on the team that put it together. It was so special, being on a spiritual retreat with my awesome mom and other special mother-figures -- people who knew me when I was so small and who helped form my faith as well. It was almost tribal -- there was such a feeling of being in a fellowship of mothers, where the elders of the tribe were there for you to lean on and come to and share their wisdom. It felt very loving and nurturing, and I cried a lot. ;) In a nutshell, what I took away from the retreat: * God wants most for me to love my children. Check. I can do that one! * I don't need to have a huge faith, all I have to start with is a faith the size of a mustard seed. Check. I have that! I even have a necklace with a mustard seed in it, and like a dork, I wear it without even really thinking what it holds most of the time. * I don't need to be super-mom, Martha Stewart, spend a lot of money, or obsess about my kids to be a good mom, no matter what the media or the rest of the world tells me. Phew! What a relief! * I AM ALREADY A GREAT MOM. ;) * There is no mom competition. We should all be supporting each other, not giving each other guilt trips or thinking we don't stack up. Dang, I want to put this on a t-shirt or something. * Being a mother is an honor and a privilege. something I often forget in the midst of the unceasing diaper changes. * Prayer can take many forms, including singing and taking special notice of the world around you. I said on the retreat, "Wait, that's prayer too?" and the whole group said "Yes!" back at me. Thank God for that, because sometimes taking the time to notice the color of the sky or the new crocuses coming up is all I can manage. I had the opportunity to do so many neat things, and I tried to take advantage of them all instead of napping (which, on this retreat, was a totally accepted option). I prayed the rosary aloud with a group of women, hiking around the grounds of the retreat center. That was powerful to me -- almost like a mini-pilgrimage. I'm not big on the rosary and if it had been inside I wouldn't have done it, but outside, under the bright blue sky, all these mothers of so many ages, lifting their voice in prayer. It was so cool. I also got to go to Vespers -- the place is a school and is run by Benedictine monks -- and by some lucky chance I sat next to the cantor who took a liking to me (probably because I could read the music!) So he would point out what we were singing next and what page to turn to. It was beautiful, chants and responses, mostly in English and a bit in Latin. If I could, I'd go every night; what a peaceful and beautiful way to pray. Happy Easter and Spring -- this is our season, the time of creating. ;)

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