1. I am really and truly and introvert.
Sometimes I have wondered about this. Before this weekend, if you had asked me whether I am an introvert or an extrovert, I would have been uncertain how to answer. I love to get out of the house, I love to be with other people, I enjoy going to my husband’s work parties and evenings out with friends. Public speaking has never been a problem for me. I can get up in front of a room full of people and sing karaoke with only minimal anxiety.
But now I know, for real and for certain and forevermore, I am an introvert. I do not do mingling in a large group of strangers well. I am terrible at small talk. In such a situation, I am much more likely to stand in a corner and hope someone will come and introduce herself to me than to walk up to someone I don’t know and start up a conversation. I was so glad Super Friend was with me this weekend.
Yay! Super Friend!
There were many times I did introduce myself to someone new, but every time I felt awkward and scared and shy and stupid about it. I asked and answered the same questions over and over again. “Where are you from?” “How many kids do you have?”
I did have some wonderful conversations, mostly because the people I was talking to were much better at generating an interesting discussion than I am, and once it gets started I can roll with it.
Jen Fulwiler is good at conversation. And she’s tall!
I had a blast at Edel, but it really brought out the introvert in me. And I’ve realized, by looking at tweets and blog posts about the weekend, that lots of other women there were experiencing the same anxieties and discomfort I was (a great example here). There were a lot of introverts in that huge room full of mamas!
2. I am not good at Twitter.
There was a streaming Twitter feed up all day Saturday. I’m always sort of amazed and befuddled by Twitter. I don’t really understand it, and have never before felt much of a desire to figure it out, but as I was watching all the tweets on Saturday (some with photos even!!) I couldn’t help but think, “I really need to learn how to do that!” I’m so Twitter-impaired that when I wrote my “Anticipating Edel” post last Thursday, I used the wrong Twitter hashtag for #edel14 (I used #edelgathering, duh). Anyone have some Twitter tips to offer?
3. As much as I loathe taking selfies, there are some events that just cry out for the selfie, and I am not immune to that cry.
4. Speaking of “cry,” I am apparently quite prone to getting all teary and choked up when listening to wonderful speakers say beautiful things about motherhood, and Catholicism, and friendship.
Oh my goodness, there were four people who spoke on Saturday. Every single one of them had me blinking rapidly and rolling my eyes to the ceiling, in an attempt to keep the welled-up tears from spilling over and making a mess of my mascara. Hallie and Marion and Haley and Jen made such amazing, funny, uplifting, and inspiring speeches. They really made me think about faith and motherhood and community in some new ways. I feel like I should expound upon this more, but right now I’m still processing it myself, so I’ll just say it. was. awesome.
5. I am sentimental.
Okay, I didn’t really just learn this over the weekend. But I did experience a great example of it.
Each Edel attendee got a card at the dinner table on Saturday night. It was a letter written by a Dominican Sister, Sister Elizabeth Ann, and it was just, well, indescribable really (see below for a bit I quoted from it to give you an idea). It (also) brought me to tears, and was so lovely, I really wanted to be sure to bring it home to keep it and read it again and put it in my box of cards to save.
But I forgot it in the Ballroom when I went to bed (kind of early because I had to get up at 4:30am to make our flight home). I got all ready to go to sleep and climbed into bed, only to remember that I had left the card on the table. I was really bummed, and thought about going down to get it. Then I thought that would be silly. It was 11:00. And I could just get one from someone in the morning or copy Super Friend’s. But I wasn’t sure if Super had remembered to grab hers, and she was already asleep so I couldn’t ask her, and we had to leave before anyone else would be up that I could ask for another copy, and I really wanted to have one! And what if Super Friend did forget hers and she wanted one too?? I had to go get it.
So. In order to enable myself to go to sleep and stop thinking about it, I got out of bed, put on clothing (sort of) suitable for appearing in public, and went back down to the Ballroom, where most of the moms were still dancing and whooping it up like mad (I was kind of jealous). I grabbed my card from my table, explained to the few people who stopped to chat why I was wearing PJs, watched for just a minute, and then I went back to bed. Mission completed. Here is just a portion of the letter from Sister Elizabeth Ann, so you can see why I wanted to be sure to have it:
“Thank you for the daily, hourly, minute-by-minute gift of self you offer to your husbands, children, and all your loved ones.
Thank you especially for the gift of self you give that no one sees, no one appreciates, no one recognizes, and no one seems to care about. Thank you for making the effort. Thank you for trying. . . .
God sees. God Knows. God cares. He does. He really does! . . .
For those women bearing the heavy cross of infertility, I want to especially take a moment to recognize and offer encouragement to you. In our Catholic culture that embraces motherhood and big families, you may feel especially isolated and alone in your struggles and fears. Don’t lose hope. I want you to know that God sees and knows and cares about you too. . . .”
Obviously, I needed to bring it home. I kind of wished I could have brought Sister Elizabeth Ann home too!
And now for a few other things about the weekend.
If you’re wondering about the shoes my girls created for me:
We did not win a prize. The shoe competition was fierce!! And as I told my girls, of course, the shoes they made were just “too beautiful.”
Overall, Edel was such an amazing experience. Several times during the weekend, Super Friend and I looked at each other and marveled at the women around us.
“Look at all these people,” we’d say. “Can you believe all of these women are faithful Catholic moms? This is so cool. These ladies are so diverse!”
And it was. And they were. They were diverse and wonderful. And kind of crazy.
I have never seen so many moms dancing and singing and partying hard. Pregnant moms, moms with babies in carriers, young moms, older moms. So. many. fabulous. moms.
And that pretty much sums it up.
It was good that we were there.