We met with a group of about 10 young mothers this morning, led by one of our wonderful IM gals. She has such a passion for these women, her peers. She meets with them on a regular basis to encourage them in their role as mothers and wives. I was delighted when she emailed shortly before I left Canada, asking if I could speak to them when I arrived in Warsaw.
We met in a family-friendly restaurant. A screen on one wall featured cartoons for the children to watch. Kid-sized tables and a bench swing made it a welcoming place for the little ones. This venue made it a very different atmosphere in which to speak. It was busy, busy, busy, and loud. At times I wondered if these moms could even hear me, let alone process what I was saying about the value of their role and how to stay refreshed.
My concern was answered as we ate lunch with them, when several approached Diane and me to ask questions about marriage and parenting. They found encouragement in knowing that I was a stay-at-home mom and was 40 years old when I started my writing career.
We left these lovely ladies after 2 p.m. and connected with Jagoda, the president of Women’s Forum (CCC) for Poland. Diane and I have nicknamed her “our Polish bubble.” She reminds us of the Energizer Bunny –going, going, going. She bought tram tickets for us and took us to tour Old City Warsaw. Trouble was, rain and wind swept in early that morning and blew away all traces of spring. “This is for crazy women!” said Jagoda as we zipped up our coats and braved the elements.
This was no leisurely stroll through the park. Facing time limitations and freezing weather, we hustled through history. “This is our White House,” said Jagoda. The camera pointed and clicked, and we raced on. “This is part of the wall that surrounded the city,” she said, motioning to her left. Point, click. “This candle marks the opening of an underground tunnel where children relayed messages between members of the Resistance,” she said. Point, click. “This symbol was placed on exterior walls to declare that the Polish people were alive and would continue fighting for their freedom against the enemy forces.” Point, click. And so our tour continued. By the time we reached the tram to return to Jagoda’s car, our hair hung limp and we looked like something the family dog might have dragged home. But hey! We made a memory!
Jagoda’s enthusiasm couldn’t be dampened by the rain. “Now I’ll take you to the train station,” she said. “Pray for a parking place nearby.” And off we drove. Sure enough, when we arrived at the station we found a space between two cars. “I don’t know if I can stay here, so I must hurry,” she said. Typical of the European way, she bumped up the curb and parked the car with its right wheels on the sidewalk. “Let’s go!” she said. Half-running, half-walking, we lugged our suitcases down the stairs, arriving at our platform as our train pulled into the station. “Goodbye,” she said. “I’ll see you tomorrow!” Diane and I were on our own, riding the train to the outskirts of Warsaw to meet our next contact person.