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Connections

Deborah Sowery-Quinn
Burlington ON Canada
Report on the 2005 LLLI Conference
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 22 No. 5, September-October 2005, p. 202

Over the past 16 years of my LLL life, I have been attending meetings, helping mothers and babies, accrediting Applicants, reading LLL approved books, and more. Since I began, I have changed—LLL has meant different things to me at different stages of my life.

I have given things back to LLL in various ways. The 19th International Conference was somewhat of a personal milestone for me; it was my first without a husband and four children sharing in at least part of the experience.

While beautiful nursing babes surrounded me—some awake and playful, others rosy cheeked and sleeping —how could I not feel a small tinge of sadness? I had no small hand to hold, no baby to nurse. On the other hand, I had freedom that was hard not to enjoy. I could glance through the Exhibit Hall when I only had a few moments to spare, I could take notes without the need to tend to anyone, and I didn't have to wonder how my husband and older children were doing on their own.

Even though I had no family with me in Washington DC, I felt connections everywhere. My senses were keenly tuned to the dance of mothers and babies. I was touched by the attentiveness of fathers to their wives and little ones. I was rejuvenated by the connections that I made with women from other countries and other Leaders.

Even the sessions spoke of connections. Susan Tracy's session titled "Creating a Connected Family Life" discussed the importance of connection and minimizing technological things in our lives that often take the place of human contact. Naomi Drew's "Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids" emphasized the idea that we need to be peaceful in our own homes if we expect peace in the outside world. Gordon Neufeld's session, "Making Sense of Adolescence," gave me ideas for connecting with my teenagers and validated the importance of staying close to them and not permitting their peers to become the main way they feed their souls. Even the more technological sessions spoke to me of connections. Ros Escott's "Head to Toe: Breastfeeding Does Make A Difference," discussed the difference that human milk makes for all the connected systems in our body. Miriam Labbok's session, "Global and Environmental Issues Affecting Breastfeeding Mothers" demonstrated how what we do on a local level connects us to the larger world. Even the Conference theme, Ancient Art, Modern Miracle, connects the past with the present.

Attending an LLLI Conference has always felt like attending a large family reunion. This time was no exception. I'm lucky to be connected to such a wonderful group of people!

Last updated Friday, September 29, 2006 by njb.
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