Well, the third Annual Torah Home Education Conference has come to a close. It was BH a wonderful day – great speakers, great attendees – and I want to thank Alisa Mandel for all of her help. When I was considering if I would be able to run the conference again or not this year in light of the other things going on in my life, it was her stepping in and making herself available to help that made me decide to go ahead with it. Thanks, Alisa!!
After the conference, I had two regrets, one of which was familiar to me each year: that I didn’t have more time to speak to the people who were attending. The other I’ll write about another time.
There are so many great people who were there and because I get interrupted in the middle of conversations pretty often throughout the day, I often don’t get to speak to people for more than a couple of minutes, and then worry that people might feel slighted by me. I used to have this same worry when I was the president of a large Neshei (women’s organization) at the big events we had – I tried to greet every person there, but obviously couldn’t speak to each person much.
I’m grateful that the day went so well, in spite of how I was feeling physically. I was feeling pretty tired from the time I started my day, and was hoping to shake it off. (I know, if you were there, you probably thought I looked fine! I hide it well.) Being so tired meant that though I usually remember faces and names well, yesterday I was having a hard time keeping the faces and names put together. On the positive side, being so tired made it easier to stay calm about things like the last minute cancellation of one of the speakers or the person who was supposed to watch my children for the day not showing up – I had no extra energy to get worked up about it!
I’ve spoken the last couple of years at the conference, and usually take whatever slot is left after I give the speakers the times they prefer. In the past this was the afternoon, but this year I spoke in the morning, and I was especially glad that I did. I don’t think I physically could have managed it after lunchtime (though I did facilitate the teen panel towards the end of the day). Though I managed to hold myself together until the conference was over – it was just barely.
By the time I was in the lobby exiting the building I was feeling so dizzy that mid-sentence I stopped the person I was speaking to and told her we’d have to talk at a different time. I got home a few minutes later but by then the combination of being so tired and not drinking enough had led to being dehydrated. At home, I immediately drank as much as I could, until I felt I couldn’t drink anymore, but it was too late to avoid the discomfort of an advancing stage of dehydration (intense headaches, nausea, etc).
I spent a couple of hours throwing up (I rarely throw up, and nothing like this), and was thinking afterward that I was grateful for the opportunity to be reminded of what it was like so that I can be more understanding of my children (dd10 gets easily dehydrated and dd16 recently had a lot of throwing up). It wasn’t fun – it was quite horrible, actually – and I spent a good part of today in bed recovering – but at least I gained something from it.
To those of you who attended the conference – thank you. To those of you who expressed your thanks – thank you! It’s so nice to feel my efforts have been appreciated. Here are a few emails that I received since yesterday:
“Thank you for a wonderful conference, yet again! Although I couldn’t stay the whole time I got chizuk out of your speech and getting a (brief) chance to talk with and see such a diverse group of Torah committed homeschoolers. “
“I had the most AMAZING time – thank you SOooooo much for pulling it together! It was fantastic to have a face to put with your name – you are even more of a presence in person, if such a thing is possible.”
“Thank you, and yasher koach for arranging such an excellent conference once again. Much of what I heard from other speakers mamash moved me.”
“I want to thank you for arranging this wonderful conference. My husband and I greatly enjoyed the day – meeting like minded people, sharing information and gaining chizuk and encouragement. I especially enjoyed your talk – I wondered how you knew exactly what was going on in my head!”
“I’m sure there were days you felt like canceling the conference after you decided to move and I, among so many others, are grateful that you didn’t and that you have given such a visibility to Jewish homeschooling.”