A Beautiful Tattoo

Orlando was awesome. I experienced so much in 72 hours that it will take time to process it all and will never fit in one post. The picture above started off my weekend. The beautiful, talented Kelley comes to Orlando even though she is not a trauma mama. Kelley spoils us all and this year she blessed my friend Lisa and I with these beautiful matching henna tattoos. I have never gotten a tattoo because life has a habit of changing and I have never had a design that I was sure I would still love ten years later. I love Lisa and the tattoo was perfect. I started thinking about having it made into a real tattoo.

One of the activities this year was a scavenger hunt which sent people from house to house to complete activities. We each had an ETAAM passport to get stamped at each house. Right after lunch Saturday, I was  decluttering our villa of my mess and found my ETAAM passport. This triggered the realization that I had not seen my real passport when I unpacked Friday night. The real passport was the only ID I brought with me to Orlando and I was going to need it to get home.

I checked my knapsack and my tote bag. Others looked in various vans I had been in and the main house that had been first stop. I called the Orlando airport and waited on hold for while, but it hadn’t been turned in. Tried the airline and they didn’t have it either. I reluctantly called The Dad to update him on a potential problem with me flying home Monday. To say there was a notable lack of support was an understatement. I was feeling more than a little annoyed.

I did find my passport in my  bathroom and was greatly relieved. I didn’t call or text The Dad right away and let him stew for a while. He was at the pool with the kids and their friends and I figured a little stewing wouldn’t hurt. My housemates thought my tattoo was beautiful and were encouraging me to make it permanent. The Dad and I exchanged a couple of snippy texts and as the afternoon turned into evening, making it permanent sounded better and better.

I was still pissed three hours later when some of our group were getting ready to leave for a tattoo place. I so wanted to go. I didn’t. Sensible people don’t make decisions that are difficult to change when their decisions are being, at least partly, fueled by anger.


I still am enjoying my henna tattoo. I am still thinking about having it made  permanent. But not while I am angry.

Why Orlando?

Three weeks from today I will wake up in Orlando. I know Orlando sounds like a vacation, with Disney World and Universal studios. It’s not. During the first weekend in March, it transforms into something magical. It becomes an oasis of understanding and acceptance. It is the weekend of ETAAM. It is the weekend of my Trauma Mamas.


These people are my lifeline in my journey to heal Hope. All of my feelings, nice and not so nice, all my stories, are met with acceptance and love. I do not have to wear the dozens of masks I wear each day, just to survive. I don’t have to keep my guard up, ever vigilant for an attack. I can wake up in the morning and know that I will not be attacked. 


I went to Orlando last year, not really knowing what to expect. I had meet one of the people who were going to be there, once, for a couple of hours, over dinner. I knew a couple of other people through the internet. I hate crowds were I don’t know anybody. That feeling lasted until I met up with Trauma Mamas at the airport. Trauma Mamas just get it. This weekend is for me. I will laugh and cry. I will live in the moment and just be.


When I come home, I will be refreshed and ready to pick up the battle again. I will know that my Trauma Mamas have my back. I will deal with the crazys that are inevitable on my return. 

 I go to Orlando because I belong there.

Psychiatrist and Hope

Hope and GB had an appointment with the psychiatrist this morning. GB went first and had a normal visit. Then it was Hope’s turn. Hope behaved no differently in the doctor’s office then she has anywhere else recently. The psychiatrist was very concerned. She mentioned total lack of empathy, dangerous behaviors, and no desire to please anybody at this point. For the first time since Hope came home, the psychiatrist wants her back in two weeks. I am glad she sees what I see- sometimes I worry that I am over reacting. I mentioned this to the doctor and she told me she saw these things during Hope’s time in her office. I am also scared. The psychiatrist said our first priority has to be getting Hope into a room, away from GB. I am looking for a contractor to make necessary modifications.

There Are No Dragons Today

Today, there are no dragons to slay, no dragons to win. Today I am taking a five hour train trip to see two Soul Sisters. By myself. Childless. I feel giddy, excited, adventurous. I can’t remember the last time I rode on a train. I was young. All these great feelings and I haven’t even left home yet. I wish I could share these wonderful feelings with all my Soul Sisters and Trauma Mamas. You have my solemn promise- I will not waste a moment of this time. I am so glad there are no dragons today 🙂

You HAVE to Cut Yourself Some Slack

I spent three hours tonight pretending I had NT (neurotypical) kids. The Dad and I went out to dinner with two other couples. The kids’ gymnastic place had a three hour parents night out. There were 5 instructors and 18 kids. They served them pizza, did arts and crafts, and kept them busy.

My kids are not NT. GB had a hard time regulating the whole time we were gone. Hope did fine while we were gone and started raging when we picked her up. I knew before we left them that they would be better off at home. So the question becomes, why did we leave?

We left them because we needed a break. We needed couple time with other couples where we could relax and have no bigger decision then what we were having for dessert. We needed not to be therapeutic parents for three hours. Yes GB is, and will be, glued to my side for a while. Yes, Hope Wango-Tangoed her way to bed. Tomorrow will not be pretty.

But… I knew they were safe tonight… The Dad and I enjoyed our break… and most importantly, when we get up tomorrow, it will be a new day, with a fresh start, and we will be ready.

That’s what’s best for everybody.