Im back and still on a bit of a high from the SpouseBUZZ Live 2 Mil-Spouse Conference in San Diego. There is so much to write about that Im sure I'll be writing follow up posts as the days go forward, I just wanted to start with some first reactions and share some highlights from the weekend.
They say love is in the details. As I walked through the meeting spaces, stuffed goody bags and watched the set up process on Friday, I felt it. I was thinking, "The mil-spouses that walk through these doors tomorrow have no idea the work involved in putting on this conference for them, I hope the kids don't get sick, their not sick and they all show up in droves." I was so excited for them to see all the work, meet them and to get the event started! I must mention the gift bags. No plastic bags for these mil-spouses, these bags were canvas with a zipper and a place to to hold your water bottle and cell phone. It was obvious some thought went into those bags. They were cool without anything even in them! Although, I do think we need tissues in them next time.
On Saturday morning, as I wandered around the meeting space I was
meeting moms checking in their little ones to the on-site day care (that was truly a well oiled machine). They were smiling, chatting and excited for the day. I saw fresh flowers in all the rooms and the sign-age was really slick and colorful. There were USAA folks everywhere making sure everyone knew where to go for what and what was next.
Military.com really did an outstanding job at making sure the event was top notch and done right.
USAA made sure there was lots of fun for the ladies with a "Digging for Diamonds" booth. Just in case you were wondering, they were not idy bity, I saw one winner and that diamond necklace was visible from several feet away and was just beautiful!!! And she later told me, she almost didn't come to the event! Did I mention the 2 ft. Chocolate fountain. Yummm. My favorite was a toss up between the chocolate covered (not dipped) strawberry (which were perfectly ripe - again, details!!), and the chocolate covered (not dipped) marshmallow. Which I normally do not like marshmallows, but covered in chocolate I have to say are quite amazing!
The speakers were great, the lunch was YUMMY and the surprise Billy Blanks appearance really was incredible. (and requires a separate post)
I met so many amazing mil-spouses who came up to me and shared their stories, said "Thank You" and gave their feedback. I was nervous about my panel in the morning. I wasn't sure how my Navy sisters would react to this panel. Once Sarah said 13 month deployment and Air Force wife said her hubby deployed to both Iraq and Afganistan I knew some "perspective" would fill the air. Even though our spouses go to sea on a regular basis, they still come home after 3 months, 6 months or for bits of time in between going back out to see again. True, we don't get Video Web Cams on demand, IM's, regular mail, regular email even, and a phone call?? whats that? Which brings be me to, when Guard wife asked the question, "How do you determine what home information to tell your husband when he Calls?!", I thought oh no, someone might just throw one of the baby ruth candy bars I had stuffed in those hundreds of gift bags at her/us. Thankfully they didn't. I think they were still in shock from when Sarah said "13 month deployment". I guess what I'm saying is, I am thankful that I was apart of the day and it was a chance for us all to share our different experiences as military spouses. To be reminded we ARE apart of something bigger. We have a bigger family than we realize. I know it can be trouble when you have a room full of women (FRG flashbacks), however as far as Saturday goes...for me it was like the best family reunion ever. Like airforcewife said, "you all are my sisters, my cousins, my brothers"....and she was right.
That night as I was walking back to my room with Airforcewife and her hubby, AWTM and JoanDArc we were all saying our good byes.
JoanDArc gave me the best hug I'd had in a while, I think the best hug Ive ever had that wasn't from someone in my immediate family, my husband or my little boy. The kind of hug that is heartfelt, real and long.
I hope the ladies / men that attended the conference felt a big, long, tight hug from all of "us" = Military.com, USAA, the SB authors, everyone in attendance and all the support folks. A hug filled with encouragement, appreciation and love.
I can't wait to see you all at the next family reunion. :)
Since being home I've received emails and IM's with more feedback which has been great. We want to hear all about your experience, what was your favorite part of the day, and what you would like to see at the next SpouseBUZZ Live conference? Thanks for your input!