Traveling home from Squam yesterday I was thinking about another return trip. When Cowgirl was not quite 3 years old, we took our first family trip to Cape Cod. Flying out, one of us went through the airport security screening and then waited on the other side while she walked through by herself. On the return trip home, it was just Cowgirl and myself as the Husband dropped us off at Logan airport to continue onto a workshop.
Arriving at security, I wondered how I would get my young child to go through on her own. I decided to make her go first and told her to "Go ahead of mommy." She gave me this uncertain look as if to say "You want me to leave you?!" On the other side of the screening station there stood an older, somewhat grumpy looking and stern female TSA agent. Pointing to her and in my most cheerful voice I told Cowgirl "Go to the nice lady!" Cowgirl looked at me, hesitated just a moment, then turned and ran full throttle through the gate. She headed straight for the agent, flung her arms around her legs and hugged her as if she were a beloved auntie. The woman's reserve visibly melted and she announced "You have no idea how much I needed that!"
The experience of Squam is like that for me: one continuous series of unexpected hugs and the surprise of realizing each time "I really needed that."
an excited meeting of my bunny sister, Brandi Marie
Squam is one big hug-fest. But the sense of being welcomed, held, and received extends beyond the act of a physical hug. The experiences and the encounters with old and new friends, teachers and classes is a repeated series of homecomings. Weary from the tasks of parenting, family, and work, the 4 days of Squam represented a space and place of returning to myself and discovering the pool of inspiration and joy to be very deep. When life gets demanding, that pool can feel frozen or lost. But in the embrace of Squam I found myself thawing out. What is unimportant is more easily shed and what is left behind is what truly matters: love, enthusiasm and a sense of connection radiating around and within me.
another sublime hugger: Pixie Campbell
I return home refreshed and fortified; I return home ready to fully receive the hugs of those whose love lies deepest in my heart. Squam is about caring for myself so that I can be a better mother, wife, daughter and friend. I return home fully committed to what I see is the most important task at hand: to create for myself and my family a beautiful and art-filled life.
I have more pictures, art work and stories to share but this is what floated to the surface of my heart.
Thank you Squam. Thank you Elizabeth for the very best hug of all on the final morning as I scurried to the airport shuttle. Your words and your mama bear hug reinforced the newly formed intention to be gentle with myself. Always.