Catch up on all my 2013 Haven Conference recaps here:
It was Sunday. The Haven Conference was officially over and after four fun- and friend-filled days, it was time to pack up my bags and head home.
That was, of course, assuming I could get the zipper on my suitcase closed after all that awesome Haven swag I scored!
My flight didn’t leave Atlanta until 3pm so I was happy beyond measure to accept an invitation from my friend Heather of At the Picket Fence for Sunday brunch at her new house!
Beth (my longtime friend, Haven roommate and now chauffeur) from Unskinny Bobby and I joined the lovely Heather and her sister and blogging partner Vanessa from At the Picket Fence, Rhoda from Southern Hospitality, Karianne from Thistlewood Farms, and Sarah and Tiffany, my new friends from Offbeat + Inspired.
Heather, her sister and blogging partner Vanessa, and Karianne from Thistlewood Farms are three ladies that I completely fell head over heels in love with at last year’s Haven Conference, and I am sad to say I did not get enough time with them this year. I think knowing I was going to be able to spend quality time with them on Sunday, with just a small group of us, led to me not prioritizing time with them throughout the conference. “We’ll catch up on Sunday!” “I’ll see you Sunday! ” were things we said at each brief passing or hug before we got swooped off to something or someone else.
Sunday wasn’t enough.
I miss you ALL so much already.
Which leads me to my last lesson from this year’s Haven Conference:
Prioritize the people who feed your soul.
I left Heather’s house with tears in my eyes, said goodbye to my dear friend Beth at the airport with tears in my eyes, boarded my plane, and crashed. (Figuratively, not literally. Thankfully.)
My voice was gone, my liver was shot, I’d gotten about 8 hours of sleep over the last 5 days…and I can’t wait to do it all over again. Thank you Haven Conference Team for another fabulous event. I truly adored seeing everyone who was there!
Two hours later my plane landed in Madison and I texted G to let him know I had landed safely and would be home soon. (My flight had left so early on Wednesday morning that I drove to the airport and parked my car.) G texted me back: “Hurry home 2 us” and it was all I could do not to have a meltdown over how badly I missed my family.
And then I saw them.
I was coming down the escalator toward the airport exit, and there were Kate and G. At the airport, waiting to greet me. G was holding a white sheet of paper that said “Rogers” and Kate was holding a green sheet of paper covered in stickers. I saw them before they saw me, and I had this moment where time froze and I realized, with 100% certainty, “This is one of those moments that will flash through your mind when you’re about to die as one of the highlights of your life.”
I didn’t want to have to wait that long to re-live it, so instead of sliding down the railing of the escalator to get to my family faster (a thought that crossed my mind – trust me) I snapped this one quick picture with my phone…
And quickly realized, “These sounds. THAT’S what I want to remember and re-live forever!” as I switched over to video and captured about 2 seconds of Kate’s beautiful, loving, emotional, and absolutely unforgettable reaction to seeing me return before I scooped her up in my arms:
Oh, these moments.
A few weeks ago I was reading Kate a book at bedtime and part of the story was a little girl who cried because she was so happy. “Why is she crying?” Kate asked in confusion.
“Sometimes,” I replied, “when you’re SO HAPPY…the happiness fills you up SO FULL that it has nowhere to go and it comes out of your eyes.”
“It’s a good thing,” I assured her.
I think she gets it now.