There are many stories within stories about the squam experience, but one lesser known tale is that quietly woven through the wild weekend gatherings are the mamas who have come with babies (in their arms or in their bellies).
Sometimes people get a little freaky on me when they learn that little ones might be at squam since it is most definitely an adult retreat and for many, it is a time to be away from kids-- but as I have assured them-- we have never had a squam without babies or pregnant mamas present-- and it has never been an issue as in some magical way, the mamas and their little ones manage to integrate seamlessly into our very midst and we are all so very much richer for their presence.
Today, as I announce that our beloved Christine (pictured on left) will be headed out on maternity leave at the end of this month, I would like to take the opportunity to celebrate all the squam mamas among us.
At our very first gathering in 2008, we had Brittany Soucy who was five months pregnant with twins-- and yet she did all the same walking to and from classes, meals & cottages-- and people, if you've never been to RDC-- there is much with the walking to and fro. (Let it be known that my Brittany fangirl t-shirt is always hand-washed with extreme care!)
Also pioneering* & pregnant were Nina Gilbert, Jen Diamond, teacher Penelope Dullaghan and Pixie Campbell who was not only pregnant but brought her son Miles who was then two years old. Wendy Cook was another brave soul who came that first year and brought her young son along, too.
:: I believe Pixie was celebrating her birthday -- and boy howdy! That's one way to say, it's time for mama to have some fun. ::
Since that inaugural September-- we've had more pregnant mamas in attendance including Megan McConnaughey, Stacie DeLaRosa, Arabella Crawford, and teacher Lauren Smith. We've also gotten to meet the babies of squam teachers Bea Peltre & Lulu, Megan Ingman and Elwood, Sarah Ahearn and Ada, Penelope Dullaghan and Veda. And let's not forget Amanda Blake Soule's precious Harper when he was just a bitty babe and the unicorn loving Penelope and Graham Griffeon.
Christine has been on all sides of the experience.
She came in 2009 to our very first June session with her mom and then came back in 2010 pregnant with little Vijay. Last Fall she came back to teach at Squam and brought her little man, then ten months old, with her.
And now, this July she will be bringing her second son into the world and so we must allow her to abandon us.
Temporarily, that is.
I am not sure how we are gonna get along without her here in squamlandia-- she brings such clear strong energy to all of our projects as well as her bright, sophisticated style that is the perfect counterpoint to her dark humor.
Wait-- you didn't know that Sissy has a way with the sarcastic bon mot? Oh, my friends, don't let that pretty face fool you-- girl knows how to mix it up good.
And, as much as we are all thrilled for her and big Vijay for the new addition to their family-- we will be chomping at the bit until she is back in our midst helping us make things beautiful, me most especially.
*remember-- this was our very first year, they had no idea what they were signing up for! I am forever inspired by their courage and wild hearts.
Brittany Soucy: Photo by proud Papa Soucy
Sarah Ahearn : Photo by Chritine Chitnis
Trey Coughlin's cute little feet: Photo by Thea Coughlin
Elwood Ingman held by Natalie Selles (who came to Squam to help care for him so his momma Megan, could teach her classes): Photo by Thea Coughlin
Nina Glibert on top of Rattlesnake Mountain: Photo by fellow Mama Brittany Soucy
Harper Soule: Photo by Amanda Blake Soule
Pixie Campbell and Family: Photo by Thea Coughlin
Christine Chitnis and Vijay: Photo by Grandma Marianne Boukamp
Veda Dullaghan: Photo by Papa Colin Dullaghan
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