From Disney to DeVos…

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This week will be a study in contrasts, in more ways than one.

I’ve spent the past 6 days in Orlando, Florida on a solo trip to the TravelingMom 2015 #TMOMDisney retreat. It’s an annual chance to learn, grow, network and enjoy the time away from home. Last year we made it a family affair and did a road trip down, but this year I flew down alone.

Coming to the ‘happiest place on Earth’ alone is both slightly freeing as well as depressing. It brings back to mind the way I used to feel as a single adult walking through a family-oriented festival or event… Somewhat lonely. But then again, when I am at Disney by myself I am able to wander at will, ride what I want to, and if I want to stop every 20 feet to take a photo – well, nobody is going to complain.

Expect to see a plethora of photos from this trip, by the way… 😉

Today is transition day. Yesterday I checked out of the very comfy Coronado Springs Resort at Disney, tried out Uber for the very first time, and arrived at the Palms Hotel & Villas. They are being kind enough to host me for one night to check out the resort and write about it (review coming soon on It feels luxurious to have a one-bedroom suite all to myself – complete with full kitchen and a really comfy seating area. Later this evening, I will board my plane for home and the hours after I arrive will be spent frantically unpacking, doing laundry and immediately re-packing so that we can head out first thing in the morning – back to what is now very familiar territory, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Hannah’s 6th round of chemo was pushed back a week (and a day) to allow for my trip – we do not want her to be in the hospital if one of us is traveling. Ron’s job has been very accommodating with travel that they had planned for him, but this opportunity was not something I was able (or wanted) to pass up. I do think that the extra break was good for Hannah too – her blood counts were dismal a week ago but had recovered nicely on Thursday, so she is good to go for tomorrow.

I don’t want to leave, and yet I can’t wait to get home, to hug my kids and know that I’m not hundreds of miles away if Hannah were to spike a fever.

From heat, humidity and sun, I will be heading home to rain, cool temps and possible snow flurries.

The sounds of crowds have surrounded me here in Florida – children screaming with laughter or with tears, happy music playing, or even just the wind rushing through palm trees. For the next several days, I will be surrounded mostly by silence interrupted only by the sounds of machinery beeping, nurses checking in, and maybe a word or two from a reluctant Hannah if I’m lucky.

From the place where kids dream to come, to the place every parent dreads to take them…

Back to real life.