November is my favorite month of the year, largely because of what's happening this weekend: I'm at my annual ScrapShare Texas retreat! There are 35 women here, and if I may say so, I think we might be the funniest, most talented group of 35 women on the internet! I think I've lost weight this weekend already; the laughing has been an aerobic workout. My sides literally hurt as I type this. :D
This retreat began 2 years ago when I planned the first ScrapShare Texas retreat at my house. ScrapShare, my scrapbooking home on the 'net, had just lost one of its most beloved members to cancer, and the loss made us realize that our friendships, even though most of us had never met in real life, were real and strong. We decided to waste no more time. We decided to start meeting in real life. Since then, ScrapShare retreats regularly take place all over the country. The first weekend in November is always set aside for the Texas one.
Scrapping is what brings us together. We go to great pains to make sure our luggage meets the weight limits for the airlines. If that means that we only bring one pair of jeans so that we can fit 24 fluid chalks instead, well, so be it. That's the nature of the beast.
What's funny is, we all plan and pack and stress over what photos and supplies to bring. I actually worried that I'd run out of photos before the weekend was over. But no. What happens every year is that we end up talking and laughing and eating and laughing some more... and scrapbooking becomes secondary. We drag all our supplies out, we organize them, and we even work on layouts, but really, it's all about the friendships.
This year, I think, is the best retreat yet. I've met and bonded with women I've not met before, and I've reconnected and reminisced with friends from past ScrapShare Texas retreats. We've laughed at each other, cried with each other (seriously.... there are always tears during the Sister Swap), and played practical jokes on each other.
Meanwhile, at home, our families are holding down the forts, delivering Kindergarten fundraiser junk that arrived yesterday (WOO HOO!! Impeccable timing for ME!), cooking the meals, handling the kids' schedules, changing the diapers, chaperoning the birthday parties.... all so we women can enjoy some R&R. We deserve it. This one weekend a year invigorates me, rekindles my scrapbooking spirit, renews my passion for what I do and makes me HAPPY. :)
Thank you, Darren, for supporting me and my friendships, for helping me cultivate them by allowing me the freedom to be Just Stacy instead of Mom. I do love my kids, from the very depths of my heart. This weekend every year cements that when I catch up the family scrapbook. But it also cements who I am outside of being a Mom: a scrapbooker, a friend, a woman.
Here are my sweetest friend Denise and my most ornery friend Gaye, chatting in front of my wall of layouts. Still two full days to go! Imagine the POSSIBLILITIES!