If you have been following along on my Instagram account, you’ll know that I attended and thoroughly enjoyed a food styling and photography workshop held in January at the Norman Bird Sanctuary, Rhode Island. I flew into Boston, hired a car and drove to the peaceful cottage on the edge of the woods. It was my first time in Rhode Island and I was delightfully surprised by its charm and beauty. Old, stone fences line the properties and there is an ease in the air. The ocean is never far from view. It was not one of those places that I had planned to visit but now, I’d like to take my family back to the area to explore the area some more.
The workshop was hosted and organized by two amazing women, Betty Lui and Krissy O’Shea. Also, Jennifer Bakos assisted and the delicious food was prepared by Sarah Waldman. It was attended by a wickedly talented and energetic group of women. As I was sorting through the many photographs that I took on that weekend, I realized that I had very few with faces in them. At first, I was a bit dismayed. Why did it not occur to me to take more photos of these beautiful women? I had my camera with me the whole time!
Over a month has passed and I do not feel as the I have lost that moment or the friendships and camaraderie that developed during mealtimes, work times and rest periods. Not every moment has to be captured by a camera. More likely, the most memorable moments are those that are happen when we least expect it and thus, are not captured by a camera at all. A small gesture, a helping hand or sharing our challenges with one another. Of course, the photos of food we learned how to make, photographed, styled and sat down to eat together tells its own story.
There were so many takeaways from the weekend. I won’t write about all the details here except for one that I’d like to share because I’m hoping it will help inspire you, dear reader. For years, I didn’t believe that there could be any sort of balance between family and work life. With my husband’s demanding training and job, I happily stayed at home with my children (I am so grateful to have the opportunity to do so). I explored beautiful cities, I acted as a tour guide for all the family and friends that visited and stayed with us. I didn’t do anything on the side. Instead, the plans to write, to start a website, to bake, to complete a hobby were pushed until the evening where invariably, I would never get around to them. Since becoming a mother, I have found that although I can work in the evening, I don’t find joy in it. It feels like a task because it seems to take forever. I am less focused, less intentional at that time of the day.
I don’t regret any of the time spent with my children, family or friends. But, there is also the feeling that I could have been more organized with my time. Asked for help. Asked to have some time to myself to do something that allows me to make, create and contribute to my community. It took the weekend away to realize how important it is to carve out time for personal development. By being a more whole person myself, I know I’m happier and a better mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I recently identified with this grandmotherly advice, passed down from the website, Motherly:
Indeed, the passing of time provides perspective. I have learned. I am moving forward now but a little more lightly, more intentional, sustainable, kindly and open to opportunities. On the flip side, I am less accepting of things that seem difficult to change or do because I chose to believe there is a way.