My word for 2022 was ADVENTURE.  When I chose this word, as is with all of the words I’ve chosen over the years, I had no idea what would unfold.  It was a roller coaster of an adventure to say the least!

January started with a trip to Thailand with my youngest.  She was a part of a Vetrinaraian Study Abroad program where she learned about small animals and stayed on an elephant sanctuary.  I accompanied her because we did not want her traveling to another continent alone.  So upon arrival, I said farewell to my baby, and began a solo adventure of my own in Thailand.  Monumental for me!  The girl who was once afraid to go to the cafeteria in college alone was now going on tours, small planes, taking cooking classes in Chiang Mai, and touring the beautiful island of Phuket.  It was amazing, and I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of.  More solo trips are in my future!

In February, the solo bug continued, and I traveled to Panama to visit my oldest on the remote Red Frog Beach Island in Isla Bastimentos.  I also had the opportunity to connect with a co-worker in person in Panama City before getting on a little plane-to board a little boat-to get to my daughter in the hostel where she was living and teaching yoga. It was a magical mother daughter weekend.  We talked, we cried, and we decided to leave the past in the past…we swam alone in a remote cove, which she named “Amber Beach”.  This is a weekend we will always cherish.

March was full of local fun.  I ran in a 5K and placed 3rd in my age group, my youngest was officially accepted to UGA, went on a fishing adventure with my nephew, and honored my big sis as Mother of the Year for the March of Dimes. In the midst of all the fun, my son traveled to Europe for Spring Break and got COVID upon his return.  He not only got COVID but also experienced a rare complication and was hospitalized for over seven days.  Thankfully we got him to the hospital quickly and he has fully recovered…we were all terrified for a moment.

In April I traveled to LA to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday.  I experienced my first Korean Massage which was quite invasive to say the least, but hey adventure was my word.  We also traveled to Catalina Island and zip lined through mountains and beautiful landscapes.  I connected with old friends and developed new ones…a perfect getaway!

In May, on Mother’s Day, I went to see Maxwell, Joe, and Anthony Hamilton, and was gifted with COVID for the first time.  I was pretty ill for the first few days, but bounced back pretty quickly.  Once recovered, we headed to Atlanta to celebrate a number of graduation ceremonies.  It was a monumental trip because it was a final closing of the Tyrone/ATL chapter.  I realized I don’t fit there anymore and celebrated my decision to move to South Florida.  I got to spend great time with old friends, who will always be in my life no matter where I live.

June we headed to Orlando Universal Studios for a graduation trip for my youngest and her BFF.  We had a great time, but returned home to a very ill dog (Simba).  What we thought was arthritis turned out to be blood cancer, and by the end of June our Sweet Simba was in pain and struggling.  More tragedy was on the horizon…On Fathers day, my oldest who now was practicing yoga in Ecuador, got stranded on a cliff and needed to be rescued by the US Embassy.  Yes you read that correctly…I had to call the US Embassy to save my child on the side of a cliff.  Needless to say, it was time for her to come home and regroup, so I bought her an airline ticket.

July, we had to put our sweet Simba down, and it was the saddest and most painful decision ever.  Thankfully the next day, we headed to NJ to celebrate one niece’s graduation and another niece’s baby shower.  Being surrounded by family and beautiful distractions helped with the sadness we were experiencing in our hearts.  After a week in NJ, I spent a week in NYC with all of my children.  We went on great adventures and even went to a comedy club in the Village.  It was magical and a memory we will never forget.

August was filled with anticipation for my youngest to begin her college career at UGA, and me to begin my empty nester phase.  But on August 12, she experienced excruciating pain in her thigh.  After a visit to the ER, 4 days in the hospital, and more tests than I can recall, we discovered she had a benign tumor which eventually would need to be removed later in the year.  She did begin college, though a few days later than planned.  It was not an easy adjustment, but she persevered and pushed through the pain.  After getting her settled and returning from Georgia, I took a much needed vacation to Turks and Caicos. In Turks and Caicos, I experienced luxury accommodations, swam with dolphins, paddle boarded (my new thing), ate amazing food and met beautiful people.

September was quiet!  A much needed break!  I went paddle boarding and pole dancing…more adventure. We also celebrated my beautiful momma’s 80th birthday on a private yacht with all of her kids and grands (thanks to big sis).  We each gave her a tribute and she is still on cloud 9.

October was challenging.  My youngest daughter, who was already struggling at school with pain from the tumor, got Mono and was very ill.  I flew her home, and while she was recovering we visited the orthopedic in charge of her thigh care.  The Dr. decided the tumor needed to be removed sooner than later, so we began to prepare for surgery at the end of the month on October 28.

November was a month of caregiving and recovery for my baby girl.  Three weeks into recovery from surgery, we headed to UGA so that she could attend classes.  We got an AirBNB and I was able to support her to and from classes.  We stayed a week and returned home for Thanksgiving.  During Thanksgiving she began to feel a lot better, and was able to return to school to finish out the semester.  She finished with A’s and B’s and is truly an inspiration to all of us.  I would have withdrawn from classes, but she insisted on finishing her first semester of college!  

December was full of gratitude.  All of my children came home for the holidays.  We are all alive and healthy.  Our family celebrated a wedding that brought my ex-husband and his family to town. It was truly beautiful to celebrate together with our non-traditional, blended family.  This is how I always imagined we would be, and though it has taken time, healing, and acceptance, it appears we have arrived at a beautiful space. We are and will always be family!

As I close out 2022, my year of adventure I am filled with joy.  Though there were some really scary moments, we survived and thrived!  My word for 2023 is Manifest.  I want to manifest my best self spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially, and mentally.  I can’t wait to see what unfolds!