All weekend, they tried to figure out what was going on.
When Hallie ran into one of the housekeepers, she greeted Hallie by asking, “Are you here for the ladies with babies conference?”
We later relayed that funny moment to a bellman, and he was confused, asking, “Wait. Isn’t this a pregnancy convention?”
In their defense, it was an unusual scene:
Hallie, my co-organizer, was nine months pregnant — and due on the first day of the conference.
There was a crazy shoe contest in which the winner came in wearing shoes that had lights, candy, tequila bottles, a piñata, and bowls filled with actual chips and guacamole.
(And to celebrate winning, she did a tequila shot from one of the bottles on her boot, and lost her sombrero in the process.)
There was my live radio broadcast in which I made a shoe that involved Jesus punching a shark.
There were attendees from all over the world, including a doctor who flew in from Guam — with her baby!
There were powerful talks.
We did two radio specials for my show, and the attendees we interviewed managed to tell stories that were as poignant was they were hilarious.
There was an attendee named Danielle who ran out and got a tattoo after the Friday event, then had a roomful of women shouting tearful words of encouragement when she got up to explain what the word she had inked onto her arm meant to her.
Photos above by Ginny Sheller
At this event, there was a an undercurrent of explosive hope and joy that ran through every moment. I saw women toasting and laughing and rocking the karaoke mic who had suffered tremendous personal tragedies. I saw attendees who had been dealt a really tough hand in life leaning on their sisters in Christ, and basking in the love and camaraderie that filled the room.
As I watched all this play out, I thought that maybe there was an easier way to explain to the baffled hotel staff what was happening here.
Maybe we should have just said: “This is a party for women who know that, no matter what we might go through, life ultimately has a happy ending.”