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Location: United Kingdom

Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Boston. June 27th-30th 2008.

Oooh, I am awake, QUICK write truth I am only awake now because there are some men right outside my window sawing through concrete and hammering and more sawing and do they not KNOW about Jet lag? Do they care even if they DO know? I suspect not.

So, I am awake, though barely so, I honestly thought that as my stay in foreign climes was so fleeting, that jet lag wouldn't be an issue, oh how wrong I was.

So worth it though, every second of burning eyes and lead filled legs, every minute I feel as though I am on the edge of insanity is worth it.

I had the best time ever. EVER.

Boston is remarkably like England ( imagine that, New England being just like the old one, with refills.) Why doesn't the old England get the whole refill thing? America is so generous, England so stingy, Boston seemed to have the best of both worlds, American generosity and welcoming smiles, roads that to me, seemed reasonable and drivable ( to visiting Americans, apparently scary and undrivable) I liked Boston.

I loved, however, the people I met in Boston.

I don't think it would have mattered where we were, as each person arrived ( and I was one of the last ones) it was like meeting old friends, reuniting, not new meetings. Funny how surprised I felt when people looked just like their pictures...why I would find that extraordinary is beyond me but OH! LOOK! Jenn!!!! Just like her picture!! Hey! Cathy....I recognise you, and so on.

My family know that I don't hug, they tell me that they are sorry and all that but I will have to endure a hug, just a quick one, grin and bear it. I have always been a bit standoffish where physical affection is involved, husbands are the exception to that rule, children too, I hug husbands and children, everyone else will get a smile, maybe a handshake, if I am particularly enamoured of someone I have been known to rub and arm or pat a back but all that hugging stuff? Full on arms and chests and squeezing? Not me, never been able to do it....until this weekend where no-one knew that I don't do that sort of thing, I did it and willingly and often.

I loved these women.

My imaginary friends, these people on the other side of a computer screen, these women know more about me than people in real life, so safe to spill the innermost secrets, why, we know we'll never meet and so we can tell all, share everything and feel safe in the knowledge that it won't matter.

The beginnings of the trip, the initial idea are a blur to me, one day of saying how great it would be to meet up, a mention and a suggestion and before we knew it, all was planned, arranged, set up. Right back in March when it all began, I still thought that it was, for me a dream and I was safe because I wouldn't actually do it. I didn't bank on 2 of the other women wanting to make sure I DID go and buying my ticket for me. Hmmmm.......that made it real suddenly but still so far enough away that I could still enjoy the thought of it.

Julie and Cathy, I can tell you now that had you not been so generous, I would have backed out. I would have made the excuses that I wouldn't be able to manage it, I would have used that as a reason to stay safe and hidden and I would have stayed at home and remained an imaginary friend. Did you know I would do that? I wonder.

As the trip got closer, I began to panic, I so wanted to go and I was so keen to see these people, the thing is, somehow they all had me on a pedestal, kept telling me how great I was and how they couldn't wait to see the real me.

I was so afraid that the real me would be a let down, an anti climax....oh, is that it? Oh dear, she is so funny on line, uh oh, would you look at her, no wonder she never posts any pictures of herself...etc etc. I am so hard on myself and as a result am hard on the people around me, I feel so pathetic most of the time that I try to avoid inflicting myself on other people, best to stay at home, keep quiet, stay in the background, I knew that in Boston I wouldn't be able to do that, the best thing is, it didn't even cross my mind to be that way. I loved these women, I felt at ease from the very first minute, as I walked through the gates and saw the people who had been waiting all morning for me to arrive, I knew that it was alright to be me.

I have often bragged about my pelvic floor of iron. No stress incontinence for me thankyouverymuch. Let me tell you something, I laughed so much and so hard that I actually had to do laundry half way through the stay because darn it, if that pelvic floor didn't let me down. The laughing was of the eye bulging, cross legged, bend over and wheeze variety. Endless, one quip after another, so much humour, so many opportunities, if laughter is the best medicine I am stocked up on cure alls for the next 15 years.

When I came home, I was overwhelmed by a feeling that is hard for me to explain, I wasn't sad about it being over, because it isn't over, the friendships that we already had, the bond that we cemented in Boston are now lifetime friendships, I went to Boston knowing that I would have fun, I had no idea how incredible the experience would be.

13 women in one place at one time, impossible to believe that given that fact, we could all have fun, no-one being left out, everyone included and welcomed, so many different personalities, some loud and extrovert, some quiet and just soaking it all in, others organised and efficient, some going with the flow and laid back. Every one generous and giving. Such kindness compassion, giving, thoughtful.

There were moments of spirituality, testimonies shared, experiences recounted.

This is where I tell you that I just fell asleep for another 3 hours.....
The jet lag is kicking my big old bum I tell you what.

I want to share particular funny stories but am still too weary and foggy brained. I hope I can remember them all.
I did bring some treasure home, Isaac in particular is in heaven, Cowboy heaven. He looks divine, I can't look at him without getting teary because he is just so thrilled to look like Johnny Cash.


I am floored by the generosity shown to me by so many people, gifts straight from the heart and so perfect for us.
Gifts for Joshua, Seth, Isaac, Eli, me, Sophie, Mel.....I pretty much had a baby shower on friday evening...and didn't even have to have a baby, how great is that??

I am rambling because I can't say what I am feeling.
Sad because it's over, joyful because we did it and everything so exceeded any expectations.
I want to do it again but am being realisitic. Who knows what the future will bring, I know that whatever happens these people are my friends for always.


Back row....Michelle,Michelle ( 2) Jackie, Gretchen, Rachel.
Front row....Sara, me, Jenn, Cathy, Di, Jamie and Julie Bo.
We are friends.



Blogger justLacey said...

I just love that picture, you all look divine. Also the ones of Isaac in his black cowboy outfit. Those boots are just too cute. Let's plan the next one, I want to go.

8:43 pm  
Blogger TN said...

Oh, to die for a week-end like that. All of you look so happy. I recognize some of the names who post on your blog.
The Johnny Cash outfit is just adorable. I love the boots!

9:34 pm  
Blogger mom of 2 said...

I am so enjoying reading your stories of your trip! I love the pictures of Isaac and that he wants to look like Johnny Cash...priceless!!

11:32 pm  
Anonymous Sara said...

LFF... that says it all.

11:54 pm  
Blogger Jenn said...

See - this is why people read your blog. There's just no way I could express myself even half as well as you do (and I know you left plenty unsaid, because it really was incredible wasn't it? Words fail me, and I get so overwhelmed that my own blog will stay unwritten because I. can't. find. words. to do that weekend justice.
I loved it.
I loved every second with you.
I am so blessed to be called your friend.

8:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a big ball of tears this weekend. I keep doing the "last weekend this time" game. I don't like playing that game...I prefer the "next week at this time"!
I love you and miss you. Could never tell that you were not a hugger because you hug like a professional.
Off to mope around and play that darn game....blah
Love you

12:09 pm  
Blogger Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

I too have trouble believing you're not a hugger. Helen hugs are the BEST!

I'm SOOOO glad you came and can't wait to hug you again!

1:52 pm  
Anonymous Di said...

First off, I've been checkin' your blog like a fiend who needs drugs waiting for this one for I knew it was coming...
It is amazing to me that we all are so different, yet there seems to be some kind of common thread that strings us all together. It was comfortable to be there surrounded by the group. Safe even.
You are even better than what I expected, Helen. Real. Kind. Witty. Smart. I have from the very start hoped you would like me as much as I knew I liked you. I'm so glad you came and I'm even more glad that I can say I was a part of it all.

2:49 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Disappointed in the real Helen? Never. Amazed that you're even greater in person than I thought you were? Definitely.

Thanks for putting into words what has been so hard for me to articulate; I still get tongue tied trying to talk about it.

I AM sad, though, and I'm having trouble kicking it. It helps to know we'll do it again (and when we do, I've no doubt you'll be there -- we'll all come kidnap you if we have to!).

Love you so (and I do)!

2:24 pm  

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