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Birthday Memories

Meg Sondey
Torreon Coahuila Mexico
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 1, January-February 2006, pp. 40-41

If you're like me, you might have birthday memories squirreled away. Some might be in black and white, stuck in albums with gold or silver photo corners -- those are your mother's. Others have colors that have softened through the years, although the ice cream covered faces are still discernable. Could that little girl really be you? Then there might be the most recent ones -- backed up on a hard drive, or carefully scrapbooked in the last few months. Those are your precious baby's!

Have you guessed what they are? Oh, yes...photographs! Photographs of when your mother was a baby, when you were a baby, and when your own precious little one was young. Oftentimes we take pictures of milestones -- first step, first tooth, and, always...first birthday!

When I think about my own family, birthdays have always been times for remembrance and celebration. My son, Jacob, now 13, adored having theme birthday parties and not only did we have fun working together to create the decorations and design the menu, but his friends thought it was cool to attend a party at our house rather than a commercial establishment! I have the photographs to prove how much they enjoyed climbing trees, doing crafts, or just hanging out and eating!

And then there was my daughter, Evangeline's, birthday tea party when she turned five. (Could she really be 14 now?) Whenever I look at those photographs, I just have to smile! We set the table with pink glassware that my own mother had given me, added the ornate Prussian hot chocolate pot from my grandmother, and even whipped up dainty homemade chicken salad sandwiches and other delicacies for an elegant tea party birthday. Everyone dressed up and the smiles that day were well worth the work!

By now I probably have encouraged you to sort through your own memories...are you thinking about your youngest baby's most recent birthday? Or the bittersweet last birthday at home of your now-college-aged son? Whichever birthday it might be, I'm certain that the memories are dear to you. But don't stop reading yet...I have another birthday celebration for you!

For many of us, La Leche League International has been there for our mothers, for us, and for our babies. In fact, it has been here for almost 50 years! From the Founders' first handwritten responses to mailed in questions from mothers to the online resources found at www.lalecheleague.org, La Leche League International has consistently provided quality researched information and education on breastfeeding and support for breastfeeding mothers.

During 2006 and 2007, in all different parts of the world and in all different ways, all those touched by La Leche League International through the years will celebrate these achievements. The number of projects and ideas are truly astounding. We are attempting to locate "lost" Leaders who helped LLLI in those early years. We will have special events planned for the 2007 La Leche League International Conference to be held in Chicago. Best of all (at least in my mind!), are the individual "birthday parties" all of us can hold for the benefit of LLLI.

We have all been profoundly influenced in our breastfeeding and parenting relationships by La Leche League. And just as we record and celebrate the milestones our children achieve, we would like to encourage everyone to celebrate this special milestone in the history of our organization.

These "birthday parties" can take many forms. And there are many resources that Leaders, members, and friends of La Leche League International can access to help plan these special parties. The Web site www.partyhostcenter.com/laleche league is a great place to start. As you know, I've already shared with you that I love birthday parties, and so I am helping La Leche League in a very special way. As House Party Coordinator, I help people plan these "birthday parties" for La Leche League. So as you plan your party, you'll have help along the way! You can reach me through the house party site, or the contact form [select "Funding Development"]. I'd love to hear your ideas and help make your party special.

For those who schedule their parties on pre-announced dates, a very special part of your celebration can include a conference call with one of the Founders of La Leche League. Dates will be announced at www.partyhostcenter.com/lalecheleague as they are scheduled. Dates and time slots are limited, so make certain you schedule your party promptly to assure your guests this opportunity.

Just as we celebrate our own family's birthdays with special gifts, a part of this birthday party celebration is the establishment of a very special gift for La Leche League -- an endowment of $500,000 called the LLLI 50th Anniversary Fund. This fund will ensure that La Leche League International is here not only for our own children, but for our children's children as well.

So, no matter what the technology might be when our own children are grandparents, when they look back at photographs of birthday celebrations, some of the pictures they see will be of smiling parents and babies, dads and grandpas, co-workers and family friends, and maybe even a cake that reads "Happy 50th Birthday LLL!" And won't that be a glorious photograph for our grandchildren to share at the LLLI centennial celebration in 2056?

Come join the celebration! Gather your friends, family, and co-workers and celebrate 50 years of La Leche League. The photographs will be great, the memories will be even better, and the legacy of financial stability for La Leche League International so that it can continue to serve breastfeeding families throughout the world will be best of all.

Note: Contact info updated 11/17/06

Last updated 11/17/06 by jlm.
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