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Conference Report: Two by Two

Barb Barrett
Woodbury MN USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 5, October-November 2006, p. 109.

As I exited the escalator on the Concourse level of the Hilton Washington, I was in awe of what I saw before me: mothers and babies, toddlers and fathers, siblings of all ages, and even a sprinkling of grandparents from all over the world. There were obvious connections being made. Old friends were getting reacquainted; new friends exchanging email addresses; older siblings were comforting the younger ones; mothers and fathers were wearing their children in every imaginable style of wrap and sling; and, of course, there were spirited conversations about some of the sessions that had been attended.

Although I wasn't wearing a baby, didn't have a toddler in tow, and wasn't accompanied by a teenager, I was a part of one of many of the dyads present at this year's La Leche League International Conference held in Washington DC, USA. I was attending my second LLLI Conference with my mother, Denece. Our previous adventures in San Francisco, California, USA in 2003 made this Conference a "must."

Our time in Washington DC created many fond memories for us to share. We took a "Monuments by Night" tour and got to see many breathtaking monuments. We ventured out into the city and saw Gallaudet University, Georgetown, the Mall, The National Archives, the Museum of the American Indian, and The US Holocaust Museum. During the Conference itself, we were inspired by presenters such as Barbara Coloroso, Dr. Jack Newman, and Edwina Froehlich. There was an amazing variety of sessions -- we both left the Conference inspired and educated on many levels.

We were fortunate to meet another mother-daughter pair who were taking this opportunity to spend time together. The four of us enjoyed a farewell breakfast together before we got ready to board airplanes and head home to opposite ends of the globe. It was amazing to realize how similar our lives were, with geography being the only major difference. We hope our paths will cross again soon and that we can reconnect. If nothing else, we plan to meet again in Chicago, Illinois, USA for the 2007 Conference.

Our time in Washington DC was an incredible opportunity to see our nation's Capitol, learn from and make connections with women from around the globe, hear renowned speakers, meet with the Founders, and partake in cutting-edge technology. But, most importantly, it was an incredible opportunity to experience mother-to-mother support in its purest form -- with my own mother.

Barb Barrett has been an LLL Leader since 2001 and currently leads meetings with LLL of South Washington County, Minnesota, USA. She is the Area Communications Coordinator and is Editor of Northern LLLights, the Area Leaders' Letter of Minnesota and the Dakotas, USA. Barb and her husband, Mike, have two children, Dylan (7) and Mairin (5). (Editor's Note: Barb wrote of her trip with her mother to the 2003 LLLI Conference in "Have Mother, Will Travel," Leaven 2004, Oct-Nov; 107.)

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