Sunday, April 24, 2011


When you hear Orlando in "normal" circles, you think Disney World. When you hear it in RADical circles, it's said with the same awe, but means something else. I can't link you to a specific website that says this is Orlando, because Orlando is bigger than that. It's some kind of gooey cloud of support and love that floats around covering different people in different ways. Yes, that's a bit of a cop-out because it's just that hard to describe! Read this post and those below for other descriptions.
In short, Orlando is a weekend for just trauma mamas called SOUL Sisters (Supporting Our Unconventional Lives). Mostly moms of kids with early trauma and attachment issues (aka RADicals, like ours).
In long, Orlando is amazing. Yes, I realize that's actually shorter. It's not just what you do there, or who you meet there, or what you learn there, it's just BEING THERE.
Being with 68 women who actually live in your shoes. People who understand better than the best therapist ever could and don't care what you say, because they're saying it too. Hearing conversations that start with "The first time my son tried to kill me" and not being surprised. Having conversations where you tell people what your REAL life is like, and not holding back for fear of shocking them. Never saying "we're fine thanks" because they'd know that was a lie and also because they actually want to know. Hearing stories that make you so appreciative of how far your kids have come, and others that give you hope of how far they can go, and others that remind you that you're so not ready to adopt any more!
It was also a refreshing getaway. I slept in, stayed in my jammies, took hour long showers, and read til the wee hours. I took lots of mental notes and just soaked in how other moms deal with kids, situations, and feelings. I heard great new ideas and ways to handle them. I was reminded that I do a lot of things right, and even more wrong, but greatly encouraged because I DO them.
Did you catch that?
These moms thought I was awesome just because I do them.

Most people have no idea that I do them.
Can you imagine? I honestly wish every single one of you could. For the FIRST time ever, I felt fully loved, respected, appreciated, and encouraged by people other than my husband who fully understand what it's like to live with RAD.
I also got to meet RADical moms I've read about for years. Christine, Lisa, Ali, and so so so many more. Well, 67 more. 67 more amazing women who are rock stars for even SURVIVING RAD, let alone helping their kids to heal. And the theme of the weekend? I am not alone. I'm not! You're not! I have a rock that says so and a Supergirl ring to remind me AND now a MAP OF OTHER TRAUMA MAMAS! (That map is both encouraging and heartbreaking. So much hurt all over the map.)
There's so much more, tattoos, pedicures, hooping, table dancing, laughing, crying, watching others run a 5k (while eating, in my jammies)... but you just had to be there. I thank Corey and Christine from the bottom of my RADical heart for letting me be there, at the last minute, and I pray I can go again next year!
Most of the group after a Greek dinner, during which most of us danced on tables at some point.
My amazing housemates after the Greek dinner.
Our house on the last day. I wish they all had RVs and we did a RADical caravan around the country!
More pics from the Orlando Flickr group (these pics shamelessly lifted from there).

More Orlando posts (oh my, so many!):
The Waggoners
Christine of (another and another)
Corey - Saturday
Corey - Friday
Corey - Advance party
Storing Up Treasures (and again)
Mothering for Money
Marty's Musings
Ranch Chico
The Accidental Mommy
Story of Our Life
Our Fab Five
The Short Bus
The Other Mother
Mothering for Money
Peace in Puzzles (another and another)
Mama Drama
Stellar Parenting (another)
GB's Mom
Last Mom
Tiruba Tuba
With Love From Sumy
Jamey (another and another)


Kelley said...

Miss you. Next year I should be skinny enough to actually learn how to hula-hoop. I hope :) If you come to the east coast of Florida please let me know. I'll bring more henna! Love you!

Last Mom said...

I also want to be taught to hula hoop next year! You ladies made it so easy hooping out by the pool. I can't get it to spin more than twice, though! :-)

BeckyJoie said...

I'm so jealous. Next time invite me. lol. Glad you had fun. I loved reading about last year's get together. HAVE not had time to read anything about this years' other than your blog. I haven't been able to read or blog. Tough year. But I'm having a RAD mom pity party all by myself late at night while reading your blog and listening to snoring and sleep talking around the house. LOL. Have a good night.