Over a year ago I started reading blogs. I was searching for answers and wanted to know what Reactive Attachment Disorder really was. I felt alone and overwhelmed and I needed to know there were other people out there with kids who acted like my daughter and I wanted to know how they handled it. I needed to understand and I needed to know more. There were some I read everyday because I couldn't get enough. There were people out there dealing with the same kinds of behaviors I was. I was so happy to find that I was not "nuts" and that other people had the same feelings and thoughts and were living the same private hell I was.
All these bloggers started talking about this amazing trip coming up and how excited they were for it. It was the ETAAM (Early Attachment and Trauma Meeting) and it was in Orlando. I remember the exact weekend they went last year it was a very rough weekend around here and It didn't help that my reader was empty because they were all somewhere together, not blogging.
Even though I read all the blogs I still felt very alone. I decided that weekend that next year I would be in Orlando no matter what it took. I wondered if the connection they all talked about was really for real. Could you really connect with strangers? People who you knew nothing about?
This past weekend I met these women and the answer is "Yes" you can connect with strangers and it doesn't matter if they know nothing about you because we all have one thing in common. We all parent or have parented kids from trauma. Our kids' trauma consumes our lives. I have 8 children and there are days that one child from trauma consumes my life more than the other 7 put together.
Rad is extremely isolating for me. I have a few people who truly "get it" here and that's it. I feel watched and judged all the time. I hate going places and being around people because our parenting of one of our children has to be so different. If you only have neurotical children you would never understand that my daughter's brain doesn't work the same way as your child's or some simple everyday things are very hard for her to handle.
ORLANDO WAS AMAZING! There were so many hugs and crying it was unreal. We could all connect on a level that most people will never understand. The best part was I never had to explain anything because everyone already knew. I didn't feel like an outcast or have to explain my parenting to anyone. I have found friends that are now part of my family.
I had a moment when we were all standing at the fountain getting ready to take the above picture and I was totally overwhelmed looking at the other 89 of these women. It took all I had in me not to bust into tears. All I could think was all these women deal with the same things I deal with every day and most of them deal with a lot more.
Someone said "Orlando is not a place it's a thing" and they were so right. It wouldn't have mattered where we were, all that mattered is that we were together. Orlando is something I will never miss out on again. I will be there. And more than anything, I will never ever feel alone again.