This was my second year to go to Orlando, to what is officially called the Early Trauma and Attachment Meeting (you should especially call it that when you’re crying your eyes out because someone is trying to tell you that your flight is overbooked….) and it was another amazing experience this year, but amazing in a different way than last year.
Last year I came back from Orlando empowered. I came home and for the first time since bringing Boohoo home I knew that I wasn’t alone. I made connections, I made friends, I made support system. I met Christine. I met Corey. Both of whom were responsible for me surviving long enough to get to Orlando. It was an incredible experience.
This year was different. (I still was afraid to be called out as a fraud, but no one has done it yet. I’d say the fear isn’t gone entirely yet though.) This year I got to sit and talk to JJ, a woman that I’ve been secretly admiring since last year. Allow me to gush about JJ. She is beautiful and smart. She’s put together and soft-spoken, but you can’t let that fool you. She’s tough and she knows what she’s talking about and she’s one of those woman that can (and does) encourage you while not taking any excuses. She has a heart of gold, just to fall back on cliché. I’m pretty sure that I made a friend for life in JJ and if she disagrees she’s going to have a heck of a time shaking me off. She’s the one who taught me to hoop! (Kelley was the one who made me think that I could do it, but JJ showed me how) JJ was the one that put me back together after hooping proved to be a little too therapeutic for me and I laid down on a lounge chair and cried like a baby. (I did a LOT of crying this year!) Everything that JJ told me resonated with something that I’d been thinking over, but the way she lays it out there is just too compelling to ignore. There are going to lots of positive changes in this house and they’re going to be inspired by her. It scares me that JJ is only a few years older than I am because if I’m going to be as great as she is by the time I’m her age I have a lot of catching up to do! (Keep reading because the hooping picture is coming at the end)
The other thing that was different about this year was that I met other moms of little kids. Trauma sucks no matter what, but I really believe that parenting trauma in a toddler/preschooler is really really different than in an older child. I’m not saying it’s harder just that it’s really different. I got to meet Audrey and Shannon both of whom are surrounded by little ones day in and day out as well. I don’t know what else to say except for the first time ever I got sit with women living mirror images of my life. It was so refreshing and relaxing and freeing and affirming. At one point we were all cracking up as we admitted something that we were each doing because we thought we were ‘bad moms’ and it turned out that we were all doing the same thing. Healing happens in community.
There were so many other women there this year that going back and seeing them again, just seeing them, was like a shot of sunshine. The first year was amazing. The second year was unforgettable. There are still women that I need to sit down and talk with because I haven’t been able to have any (let alone as much as I wanted) conversations with them. I joked this year that I was going to bring an appointment book. I should have!
Hooping. I learned how to hula hoop. I can’t make you understand what a big deal this is. I went to Orlando knowing that I would not and could not hoop. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t something that I could do. I’m too awkward. Uncoordinated. Embarrassed. Let’s be honest. Stupid. I watched the other women do it and I was jealous, but I wasn’t about to try it. They could do it, but I couldn’t because clearly I was inferior. (Yes, my brain is the original trash-talking champion.) No hooping for stupid me.
Enter Kelley. Kelley who might be the dearest and sweetest and most unassuming person I have ever met. She asked me why I wasn’t hooping and I smiled and told her that I couldn’t do that. And sweet sweet Kelley looked at me with her nicest smiling eyes like I had just told her I had six arms and fairy wings. She just wasn’t buying it. And I went to bed thinking to myself, “she actually thinks I could do it”.
And the next day this is what happened. I love hooping! How crazy is that?!
And there’s so much more. There was the 5k. The restaurant. The talking. The crying. The sharing. The food. The friendships. The amazingness that is sitting in Christine’s class and listening to her talk. The stories of the women that are so so so strong. The selflessness and giving that is Corey putting this event on for us. Orlando meant so much to me this year and I almost missed it. Orlando changed me this year and I almost missed it.
Last year I went to Orlando and I came back feeling like I was empowered and like I had a support system. This year I went to Orlando and I came back feeling like I was awesome and like I have sisters.