Thirty five mothers of very sick children enjoyed a vacation from the ordinary at a 24-hour mini-retreat, courtesy of Chai Lifeline Midwest.
The moms hail from Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Cleveland. Despite the geographic distances, they found much in common as they shared information and conversation during massages, aromatherapy, makeovers, games and gourmet meals.
View photos of the event here.
If being a mother is a full-time job, being the mother of a child who is ill involves working 100+ hours a week. The stress is unrelenting, the pace exhausting. Chai Lifelineís offer of a full day off (the retreat began on a Saturday night and continued through Sunday) was too enticing to turn down. Thanks to fathers and family members who pitched in, mothers gained some critical time to unwind, focus on themselves, and prepare again for their hectic lives.
Mothers were picked up by limousine and taken to the Holiday Inn in Palantine, IL, "Retreat HQ." They arrived to custom sushi prepared by an experienced chef, and a magnificent if calorie-laden dessert table. The moms savored every bite as they greeted one another and talked.
After a restful night (for some, the first night they hadnít been wakened since a child became ill), participants enjoyed a delicious breakfast. Then it was off to the Chai Lifeline Spa, where the women enjoyed massages, makeup, and makeovers.
Rivky Blau, MSW, case manager from Chai Lifeline Canada, led a powerful discussion on self care and managing stress. After lunch, the group enjoyed a presentation on aromatherapy and then created kits with soaps, essential oils and more to take home.
All too soon, the day came to an end. The women boarded their limousines and headed home, taking much more with them than goody bags. They returned to their families empowered by the support of Chai Lifeline and fellow mothers, who face similar challenges in their own lives.