2014 Summer Memories
The summer is slowly slipping away, the warm balmy Tuscan days are growing shorter and our shared times are cementing themselves in our memories. Me+Mom 2014 was unforgettable for so many reasons. It was contagious fun, it was chic, it was full of surprises, it was profoundly enriching. I waited until now to thank my group of wonderful moms, now friends, so that we could ponder and savor our times together under the Tuscan sun.
Remember those moments drinking chilled Prosecco, sipping glasses of smooth red wine, nibbling at crostini piled with red blood tomatoes and plates of freshly-made pasta, talking of our lives and sharing our life experiences over al fresco lunches and late night dinners, or just being and enjoying the soft quiet… As the fall approaches, we can look back on all our pictures and feel nostalgia, hear the laughter, see the smiles in the times we shared, whilst also looking forward to the following summer of new adventures and open doors full of possibility.
It was my first Me+Mom summer and the concept was exactly how I had envisioned it:
…an unforgettable mom’s retreat and kid’s summer camp, combined together to create a unique ‘Dolce Vita’ where everyone was happy and getting what they wanted, a truly unique travel experience with full immersion in Italian culture, language, landscape and beauty. Did it really happen like this? Well, to begin with I was very fortunate to have the most brilliant group of moms to cheer me on in this new project. We had never met, never even seen each other before, yet within so little time, it was as though we had known each other for years.
Does this sound like a cliché? I suppose it does, but truly we shared stories and laughs and even tears that I never thought were possible. New friends? As the inimitable Oscar Wilde said, “I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about my old ones.”
And let’s not forget the kids in all this. Supported by our team of camp staff (including Sammy, Alex, Heather, Eden, Anna, Raimondo and Simona), the kids enjoyed absorbing and exhilarating activities which were a world away from their normal lives. It worked like a dream because my kids camp, Canadian Island, provides the opportunity to combine the philosophy of North American camps with the unique setting of organic Tuscany.
The kids immersed themselves in Italian language and culture, and enjoyed an array of workshops and activities including zip-lining, team sports, cooking, film making , swimming, arts and crafts and mask-making, amongst many others.
And if they wanted to share some times with their wonderful moms, then they could whenever they liked. No tears at bedtime, just hugs and confidently going on their way, comfortable in the knowledge that mom was just next door if ever needed.
I want to thank my first group of wonderful women who launched Me+Mom 2014 with me and made it such an unforgettable success: Niki, Anita, Katharina and Susanna who weathered the ups and downs-how can we ever forget the palla plastic desert?! That was the definite highlight of our stay!
Also huge thanks to my amazing team, without whom I couldn’t have done any of it: Francesca, our nurturing everything-doer or “tuttologa”, who was great company, funny, honest, knowledgeable and the perfect hostess; Lorenzo, our patient driver with a heart of gold and a genuine smile on his face everyday; Martina, our local and empathetic mom; Stefano, our spirited cook and master-chef in-the-making who entertained everyone with his mouthwatering dishes and amusing sense of humor; our wonderful yoga instructors Mara and Andrea who kept as together mind and soul; and Mirko who took us on our wine tour, had a quick spuntino under the big oak tree sipping on wine and enjoyed a lunch on the beach of Capalbio.
Finally, “Why?” Drawing on my 20 years of experience in running summer camps for kids here in Tuscany and also being a mom to my 7-year old son Giovanni, I realized that if I took time out for myself it didn’t necessarily have to mean not being with Giovanni. Moms could have the best of both worlds: kids happy and stimulated at a summer camp, whilst moms took time out from their frenetic lives, guilt-free, and sharing moments with their kids when they all felt like it.
Let’s face it, life can be quite stressful, crazy and wonderful at times being a mom, scheduling, car-pooling, multi-tasking and more scheduling! Being in the same setting, your memories are built on the same sensorial experiences as your kids: you smell the same lavender and sea breezes, you enjoy the same Mediterranean views and incredible colors, you can feel comfortable knowing your kids are close by- yet separate.
You can go to the 2014 summer gallery to see all the photos and videos