Who’d a thunk it? Two things I learned from my adult children’s visit.

Hi, Girlfriends.  

I’m still grinning.

A few weeks ago, my son Sean and his wife Mira traveled from Philadelphia to spend five days with us.  We had a blast.  Sean and Mira stayed at a boutique style hotel named Lodge of the Desert since our coach only sleeps two people.

Here is the weird thing.

I look at Sean and cannot believe my eyes.  How did he get to be all grown up?  AND married? And how did I get an awesome daughter-in-law named Mira?

Who’d a thunk it?

From Young to Old

My thought processes twirled this mystery like spaghetti on a fork.

For example, I recall that moment when I taught Sean how to use a checkbook, and now he teaches me how to make international phone calls on “What’s Ap”.  Our conversations used to revolve around college courses he was enrolled in and now we discuss world events and recipes for Lamb in our Instapots.

It seems like last month when I used to drive him to his baseball games and violin lessons, and now he and his wife drive a rental car to meet us for dinner.  Back in his youth, I’d pick up the check at the end of the meal, and now, the waiter delivers it to him?

More spaghetti twirls… Being a mom is a humbling experience.  You bring a new life into the world and the next thing you know they come and visit you for their vacation.

Whirlwind Tour

Here’s what we did.  We drove them to the WINDY and chilly summit of Mt. Lemon-We lunched at The Iron DoorWe viewed quirky art at the Ted DeGrazia GalleryDined on Vivace’s terrace with The Catalina Mountains as our backdrop-We inbibed craft cocktails at 47 Scott and Scott Company Bar-Hiked to the summit of Mt. Wrightson-Yup, more eating… this time at El Charro’s-And shared talks of dog ownership while getting licked by a silly Cockapoo named Penny-

Happiness is a consequence

As the title to my blog implies, I learned two things from Sean and Mira’s visit.  The first one is that “Happiness” is a side-effect.  It’s a natural consequence- and in this case of a visit well done.

You can’t strive for Happiness…it just happens…And the smile on my face reflects this.

The second thing I learned is a bit more subtle- or perhaps more of a resignation…

My spaghetti brain will always twirl as I interact with my adult son- because once upon a time he was an infant in my arms. And that’s ok, cuz, I am a mom. His mom.  And I embrace the twirl.

Who’d a thunk it?

Your Turn

Hey, Girlfriends and Guy friends.  It’s time to share your story.  I’d love to hear others talk about their relationship with adult children.  And while you’re at it, please sign up for my blog, cuz there are lots more stories coming up!

Love from your Unlikely RVing Girlfriend,

Gretty

#Sprinkles-on-my-sh*t-sandwich

“What’s with all the white outfits, ladies?” Ferris asked.

“Forty-six of us are gathered in Fort Lauderdale to celebrate our virginity.” Stephenie R.H. explained matter-a-factly.  ~Photo by Mary Rowden~

Ferris didn’t fall for it.

So a group of us gals decided to tell him the truth.   “We are having an International Mom’s Retreat.  We each have a child with F.O.P.”  “F.O. what??” he asked.

Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progresseva – an extremely rare condition where muscles and connective tissues turn to bone, and there is no cure (yet).  The condition presents early in life with large unexplained hardened swellings on the back and neck and crooked big toes.”

Loooong pause.

Then Ferris responded: “Well ladies…THAT is a shit sandwich.”

Bingo.

Thank you, Ferris.

As moms, we could not have described F.O.P. better. Lucky for me, AND my 45 new besties, our retreat was sponsored by an extremely generous foundation named The Radiant Hope Foundation.

Let me repeat.

Extremely generous Foundation.  (Fact. No research monies or donations to The International F.O.P. Association were used to fund this retreat.) For three days we retreated.  We enjoyed the freedom and permission to:

  • Listen to mom’s individual F.O.P. story.
  • Reflect on the challenges and successes of our F.O.P. experience.
  • Hand each other tissues.
  • Be rejuvenated through 12 workshops on supportive topics.
  • Have spontaneous dance parties.
  • Buy each other drinks.
  • Voice words of encouragement to new girlfriends.
  • Spend time with the amazing Jeannie Peeper, founder of the International F.O.P. Association.

~The Retreat Planning Team poses with Jeannie Peeper and Knightly~

  • Receive updates on our ongoing successful clinical trials.
  • Laugh. Hug. Laugh. Hug….and repeat as necessary.
  • Retreat to our ocean front rooms to process, sleep, or cry.
  • Nod our heads in solidarity of purpose.
  • Oh, and buy drinks for each other.

 ~Photo by Mary Rowden~ ~Photo by Mary Rowden~~ Photo by Mary Rowden~ ~Photo by Mary Rowden~

We Forty-six have found our Tribe.

These women “get” me.

They are the Sprinkles on the shit sandwich of my son’s F.O.P.

Yes, my 36-year-old son, Patrick, has this rare condition.  It breaks my heart to watch him suffer in pain.  I want a cure for him.

Pat was thrilled to know that this retreat opportunity was available, and encouraged me to attend. I’m glad I didn’t chicken out.   We are united for our children’s eventual cure. I can reach out to the “Sprinkles” when my resilience falters to the realities of F.O.P. in Patrick’s life. Here are some Sprinkle comments about the retreat:

Connie:

“Transformative gathering of the most amazing women I will ever know! My love & support of each of you is boundless. Gratitude to our planning committee whose vision, dedication & hard work created this Retreat for us.” 

Stephanie:

“I don’t have words to describe this retreat and how I’m feeling. I was given the gift of knowledge, hope, Love, thoughtful advice, and friendship that feels like it’s always been there. One thing is for sure, I’ve never been in the presence of so much determination. You are all the most wonderful mothers I have ever met. Like fighting Lions for your children. To say I’m inspired to keep fighting, raising awareness, funds, and helping the IFOPA is an understatement. You all have changed my life. I can’t ever repay Amanda and the planning committee. My gratitude is endless. Thank you. ????❤️”

Shannon:

Hello, beautiful friends! I have to say a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you for making my heart lighter and my hope brighter. I could not walk this road without you! This weekend has truly been a game changer.
I can’t put into words what I have experienced these last 3 days. I’m armed ( literally) with knowledge and more hope than ever. I have met 40 amazing women that know exactly how I feel. I have laughed and cried with them. They are now my tribe. The ones that get me. The moms that came together to make this retreat happen I am forever grateful for. The friendships I have made are invaluable. I will never forget this experience. I’m coming home with power and knowledge to fight for my son. To fight to keep him moving. #curefop #hopewins.”  

Tiffanie:

“I’m on the way to the airport, and my heart is full with love for my new mom tribe, my head is swimming with your wisdom and new ideas, and my spirit is soaring with strength and hope. I truly love each of you for your unique contribution. THANK YOU to the planning team for pulling off a fantastic retreat! The weekend has been a gift I didn’t know how much I needed.”

Your Turn

Who are the Sprinkles in your life?

How have you connected with them lately?

Share your Sprinkle story in the comments below.

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Check out more information about F.O.P. on the IFOPA.ORG website

Crooked toes…the telltale sign is crooked toes.  Spread the word, please!

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And now, thanks to Ferris’ succinct definition, we may have an F.O.P. Mom’s Retreat T-shirt logo:

#fopmomsarethesprinklesonmyshitsandwich

By the way, if you meet a guy named Ferris, tell him we’ll send him a t-shirt!

Love,

Gretty