Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Edel: A Reboot for My Soul

Coming back off a weekend high to a house full of laundry and 3 tiny "cathedrals" (reference explained  - keep reading!) that need quite a bit of mortar these days has made it hard to get a moment to sit down and even attempt a recap of The Edel Gathering. Combine that with a delayed by three hour flight and then getting stuck in the air above Buffalo, finally arriving to my own house at 2:30 am Monday, and yeah, it just hasn't happened.

So now, here I sit. There is still so much fresh in my mind. SO. MUCH. It was probably the loveliest weekend I have had in the past several years. I felt young again in the sense that I could fully embrace fun. At the same time I felt at one with women who I typically stare up at with awe and usually feeling like I'm ten again.

I've been excited for this weekend since it first was thrown out into the ether as a concept awhile back on both Hallie and Jen's blogs. My intentions hit both extremes the more I thought about whether it was even a possibility for me to go. I was pregnant at the time and doing the math in my head would have a two month old in tow. And then there was the money issue. It was probably going to be super expensive. But I'd get to meet several of my online friends most likely. Yet I'd have to leave my husband for a whole weekend while he would be finishing up his Masters project.

Finally before the tickets went on sale, my husband convinced me I needed this. (He's a very smart man). So, I bought one.

To point out, up to this past weekend, I had never met any of the women attending. Believe me - it was odd trying to describe Edel to local people who had no idea what it was. "So, yeah, I'm going to these weekend for Catholic mamas. It's kinda part retreat/part party. I'll be meeting up with some friends. No, I haven't actually met any of them" was pretty much the gist of my explanation.

I did have several internet friends that I considered "real friends," but there was this underlying fear they'd decide they didn't like me in real person.

I don't consider myself super shy, but I am an introvert, and I over think everything. Make that over-analyze. I worry about stepping on other's toes, hurting feelings, being annoying and not realizing it, and just being that outsider that everyone else is being nice to by letting me hang around. I know this is probably rarely the case, but it's just how I think of myself. I overanalyze situations in advance and then dwell on each moment after.

Edel was different. I consciously decided I was going to work my darndest to plan for a good time that would benefit me from the get go. I prepared for it with things that would make me happy. The crazy shoe contest was one example of this. I decided at the last minute (well a week before, which is pretty much the last minute for an organizing planner type like me) that I would create a pair of shoes. I decided finally I rarely get to create art, and the fun I would have making crazy shoes would outweigh my competitive self. Note: didn't win, but I did have fun making my shoes.

I don't talk your ears off forever, so I am only going to recap on a few words that come to mind when I think back.

Since FOREVER. You know how we all have those friends that we've known forever and they are just kindred spirits. Everytime you see her, you start your conversation right where you left off whether it was 6 months since you last saw one another, or 2 years, or a decade? Small talk isn't really my forte. I feel like I often get stuck in it.
This was different. The first instance of this was when I was sitting in the lobby meeting women that I didn't know, and I hear someone yell my name behind me. I turn literally into a giant hug from Kelly, and from then on out I kept "meeting" other Catholic mamas who I felt I'd known since forever. Barely any small talk, just Real conversation.

Real. Genuine. All these women were themselves. Whether they were pregnant, mama of one, mama of many, struggling with infertility or over fertility, not one of the women I conversed with hid behind a mask. It was beautiful to see the humility and confidence these women presented themselves with.
On Saturday evening as we all stood in line to pile our plates with the Tex-Mex goodness that was dinner, I stopped and just glanced about at the joy, the beauty that shone forth from each woman. The variety of evening wear showed a little bit how each woman in attendance had chosen something that made herself happy. An outfit that she wore for herself.

Life. There were babies everywhere. It might as well have been a baby wearing convention, there were so many little ones on their mamas. As a mama who was traveling with my own little guy (just two months and 4 days when we set out), it was refreshing to have other mamas that were in the same stage I was.
Having a baby along meant I missed out on a few things - Adrian was quite the trooper most of the weekend, but by Saturday night, he was a fussy wreck and puked on me twice. And on Sunday he was pretty cranky on the whole. But, the awesome part was even when I ducked out of the party into the quiet of the Mother's Room that was set up one room over, I could find another mama in there to talk to.

And finally...
Refreshment. Reinvigoration. Readiness.
I can't say, as an introvert, that I was truly relaxed. The fact that I carried a 13+ pound boy around most of the time and drank exactly one glass of wine (to be remedied at Edel '15) might have something to do with that. I had moments of relaxation, but I think a better explanation would be that I let go. I let go of the me I think I need to become, of the me I wish I was more like, the me that has got it together.

And my soul was give a reboot. 

I came home with a tangible sense of the Church, of the community of women I got to meet in real life. To hug. Laughter, tears, crazy photo booth moments, delicious meals, crammed elevator rides, conversations galore. I knew fully that I was supposed to be there, welcome to be there, and it was good for me to be there, as Hallie told us right off the bat in Saturday's intros.

I came home with a sense of being ready to fully fulfill the vocation God has given me as a wife and mama. To spend my days building my cathedrals as Jen reminded us. Marion pointed out the beauty of Freedom we have within the Church and how although we are called to imitate the Holy Family in their love and fidelity, we don't have to be them exactly. After all, she said, "We're not called to move to the Middle East and have only one child." Our choices, she said, must enable us to go further in love. And Haley challenged us to allow motherhood to strip away our sinfulness with the reminder that not all mortification is bad. That God desires to change us into who He created us to be.

Here are two tweets I managed to send out during Saturday's talks. I typically am a note taker (think pen and paper), but with the little man, I just settled in and listened, only taking a break to share these two thoughts over the Twittersphere.

In short, I had a blast. I am already thinking of ways to save for next year. Each women who I met was exactly how I imagined she would be or better. It was all exactly what I hoped for and more.

Oh, and I met all five of the bloggers I was hoping to as well as the bonus options.

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This post Edel: A Reboot for My Soul first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 30 July 2014


  1. Wonderful recap! I'm sorry that I didn't meet you in person, but happy that I have found your blog through reading all the post-Edel posts.

    1. Sorry I didn't meet you in person, too! Well, there's always Edel '15!

  2. (I think Blogger ate my last comment, so in case it didn't go through...)

    It was so wonderful to meet you, and I can't wait to see you again at the next one!

    1. It was wonderful to meet you, too, Jen! Thanks for envisioning such awesomeness!

  3. Sarah, it was so great to meet you and the lil guy! You have a contagious joy about you. I especially appreciate how you describe your introversion. I get it, word for word, sister! And look those beautiful spiritual friends you have now! What a gift. Hope to see you at #edel15!

    1. It was wonderful meeting you as well, Lisa! Thanks for all your sweet words - til next year!

  4. After reading this, I feel even more certain we're kindred spirits and hope to be able to make Edel'15 :)

    1. Love "meeting" kindred spirits - I love that the internet allows me to find more of you. Yay for next year! Hope you can make it. =)

  5. Loved meeting you. Our baby boys are buddies!!

    1. Loved meeting *you*! Chunky baby boys forever!

  6. Thanks for being roomies and dinner table company! (Adrian was an awesome roomie too.) I look forward to keeping up with you and your boys throughout the year. How did the Mexican wrestling masks go over? I hope we can meet up again at Edel15!

    1. Thanks for being a great new friend - loved meeting you and Emi! She was a trooper for sleeping through our early morning wake-ups. The masks were a hit, especially for Dominic. Can't wait for next year. =)


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