Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CM West :: Conference at Puget Sound 2017 Recap

All ready to go!  I am so glad I checked the carseat and suitcase instead of trying to drag everything through the airport.  It was so worth the extra money!
At the end of September I traveled with my 5 week old daughter to Seattle to attend CM West :: Conference at Puget Sound, the second Charlotte Mason conference in the Seattle area.  I had attended the first one two years ago, and I was glad to be going back, although a nervous at the idea of traveling with a baby.  I have traveled a fair amount, and I certainly have a lot of baby experience, but I don't have much experience traveling with babies.  Thankfully she traveled very well, and was not the screaming baby on a plane that all parents and passengers fear to the depths of their hearts.

At the conference, we had arranged for Nancy Kelly to give the majority of our talks, and I didn't have many responsibilities other than to help make announcements, answer questions, and keep the conference moving a long as near as possible to the schedule.  Having such an experienced speaker certainly made that last job a lot easier!  When we first began planning the conference 18 months ago, I had no idea I would be bringing a newborn with me and I was very thankful I wasn't also trying to speak and lead any discussions or other activities. 

Having a baby along at a conference was a new experience for me, and not one I'm particularly eager to repeat.  Charlotte did wonderfully at the conference, given the circumstances, but I found it just about impossible to immerse myself in the talks, take notes, and participate to the degree that I am accustomed.  I also found myself needing to retreat to my room with a cranky baby at the unheard of hour of 9 p.m., missing out on all that wonderful late night conversation time.

Lake Washington - After reading The Boys in the Boat, I wanted to see the lake if I could get a chance.  I got to take a lovely walk here after the conference with a few of the ladies who had later flights out, as well as a friend who lives locally
As I've considered my conference experience, I've tried to tease out what I took away from it.  I have a couple handouts, a slide deck from the wonderful Audubon presenter, a few scrawled and scattered notes taken while either standing or trying to balance a baby and a notepad on my lap, and a few photos.  I have the example of how one master Mason educator listens attentively to narrations and gently encourages more responses by a quiet, "What else?"  I also have memories of wonderful conversations at meals with people who live far from me but who have become dear through internet connections and seeing each other at conferences.  I have new acquaintances and friends, found through time spent in nature together, at meals, and by trying to narrate to each other during the sessions. I was able to visit my husband's aunt and uncle, people I enjoy very much and don't get to see very often. 

I'm so thankful for this chance to go to the conference, to enjoy the beauty of the Puget Sound area, and spend a little time with friends and family.  I'm looking forward to going back a third time for another conference... but perhaps in a couple years, when my youngest is old enough to leave at home.

No comments:

Post a Comment