I'm on my way, via Amtrak, to New York City. The trees are whizzing past and every once in a while I can look out and see the wide, slow moving Hudson River on my right. Each time the train whistle blows I find myself swooning with some strange primal sense of nostalgia mixed with the pure excitement, anticipation, of moving through time and space from one place to another.
I like it.
But I like even more that I'm going to the Mom+Social global motherhood summit to take part in a collective pow wow about how to make the state of the world's mothers as safe and healthy and filled with hope for the future of their children as can possibly be.
The thought of people taking the time to put their heads together to figure out how to better spread the word of the importance of mothers around the world inspires and encourages me beyond words.
One day and a lot of walking later:
Now that I'm here, I don't know where to begin to describe what I've seen and heard.
I've seen Christy Turlington, 80s supermodel turned women and children's health advocate. Her youthful beauty was distracting only in that it made me insanely curious how old she was. She's 44, apparently. I was hoping I'd find out she's at least ten years younger than I am though I knew that was impossible.
I saw Robbie Parker, the father of Emilie Parker, one of the six-year olds shot dead in the Newtown school shooting, cry several times onstage as he explained just how much his daughter changed his life and made him a better person.
I heard Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, speak of the fierce determination of all mothers to ensure our children the best future possible future. I also learned how she came to devote her life to non-profit work. She described the day she locked eyes with a mother in the Phillipines and became profoundly aware that that woman's baby, just like Carolyn's baby at the time, had no less right than did her child to the very best future he could possibly have.
I listened to Fortunata Kasege talk about the sorrow of learning she had HIV and the joy of learning, a few months later, her newborn baby tested negative for the virus.
I heard Jennifer Lopez and her sister, Lynda Lopez, banter on stage about being pregnant together and the importance of sisterhood, be it blood sisters or simply a tribe of supportive women around you. I experienced another superficial moment, ala Christy Turlington, when I could not take my eyes off sister Lynda's legs, which I described as leaving the stage five minutes after the rest of her body did. They were that long.
I was moved by a woman, a Latina blogger, named Jeannette Kaplun, when she said
"The fear of losing your kids can paralyze you no matter where you live, no matter what kinds of luxuries you can afford."
I learned about a United Nations campaign called Girl Up that inspires American girls to become global leaders and channel their passions to global issues.
We were presented at the beginning of the forum, with the question "What one thing, as part of the global community, can we do to support the world's mothers?"
Can you answer that question?