I’ve talked a few times about how the retreat I went to in Orlando made such a difference in my life, and how meeting other moms with kids like mine (or worse!) saved my sanity, and how the support and camaraderie and friendship I get from my “tribe” has totally changed my life and my parenting when it comes to parenting these difficult children. When I’m down, I can reach out via Facebook, text, phone call or private message and get instant responses. There’s no one really close in my area that’s a part of the group, the closest is an hour away, so the online support means so much to me, and that’s why Orlando (and there are other places there are retreats, but Orlando is the original and the biggest currently) means so much to me.
The first year I went I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t expect anything, really. I didn’t know much about the group, a blogger I followed was going, so I begged her for the information, because I’d never heard of such a thing (there’s others out there? Like us? really?). It could have been a bunch of crazy women that I wanted to run from, or it could be a time of learning and picking their brains, because for us the diagnosis of RAD was brand new. We were lost. I was overwhelmed and lost. If nothing else, I figured a few days in Orlando would be a good break for me.
Even before the retreat, I was able to get to know my housemates online. I made friends. We joked, we laughed, we shared stories. They understood. If I said I hated how my house always smelled like pee, they didn’t ask about my dog or cat. They knew. If I posted a picture of how my house had gotten destroyed in the 60 seconds it took me to pee, not only did they understand but most of them could produce worse. 🙂 When I had a great day, and connected with my child, they didn’t look at me oddly, they celebrated with me, understanding what a big moment it was.
These women (because it’s a mom’s retreat, sorry Dads, still working on the dad’s retreat) have become my best friends. I didn’t go for relationships, but that’s what I came home with. I’ve never been a person who’s had more than one best friend… but that household of women that first year – all newbies – became my best friends. And every year I add to that number of people I can’t imagine my life without. For my birthday this past year a bunch of us got together to celebrate. Another group of us is planning on getting together this summer in another part of the country. We may be scattered throughout the US and Canada, but thanks to technology, we are connected to each other instantly. We are not alone. We are never alone.
I can’t promise you that you’ll make your new besties if you go to this retreat. I can say that you get what you put into it. It’s a chance for a break, leave home and the stress behind you, come for a weekend of pampering, or of classes, or of spending a few days sunning by the pool. This is a time for you to get what YOU need out of the time. There’s lots of laughter, some tears (sometimes because of the laughter), some people come in a few days early and grab a hotel so they can hit the beach or Disney. But during the conference – Friday night, Saturday, Sunday – all meals, lodging are taken care of. You can have your own room – a King size suite – or share a twin room for cost purposes. Transportation from and to the airport Friday and Monday mornings are provided as well. Only “extras” will cost more. Some women get mani/pedis, some get tattooes (we have a great tattoo shop down there we work with), we have a group that comes in and does massages cheap as well. Every year there’s something different, it seems, but the extras are not required.
So if you’re hanging on by a hair, your last nerve is being twanged, and you feel utterly alone and not understood – come to the BeTA Retreat 2016. It seems a long way off but as soon as you’re registered and assigned a house, you’ll start to meet the people online you’ll be sharing a house with. You’ll get to know people before you get there. Shy? Quiet? That’s ok. Loud? Obnoxious? That’s ok too. (Guess which of those I am… ahem…)
Here’s the link to register. And look me up when you get there. (And Wonder Woman, yes, I know Wonder Woman.) https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1FfriI5sQhthdH0mQc_W555h_8x1KNNhauWQQq19OUyA/viewform