The workshop was beyond amazing. It was life changing. I was able to look deep inside of myself and touch a place I have closed off. I was able to pick up my pen this time and write on pretty much every topic we touched on. I had doubts in fiction that were proved wrong...more than once. I was able to put into words things that I hold close at heart, but not able to read those words because of the emotions that ran through me. Within time, I will share those words here.
I had three of the most wonderful and selfless mentors that taught us more than I can repay. They helped me reach new heights and allowed me to find myself in writing again. This trip was so needed.
Thank you Wounded Warrior Project for such an amazing experience!
Aside from the workshop, we were able to see NYC and all that the city has to offer. In September, I was able to see a lot and stayed out real late. This time it was different. I was still able to do and see, but I wasn't feeling the whole "out all night" part. Instead, I decided to head back to my room before between 8-midnight every night. I know, that sounds lame to many.
Upon arriving, I checked into my hotel room at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square. FABULOUS!!! I spent a little time checking in with our WWP, then dropped my bags off in my room, followed by some time in and out of stores. I think I was the first to arrive, a little after 1130 Friday morning, so I had some downtime.
Last time I was in NYC, my room faced Times Square and the chaos it brings. This time, I was very thankful to have a room facing the river.
Around 2:00pm, I met up with some other ladies and we headed to the 9/11 Memorial together. Together, four of us were able to take in what our husbands so selflessly fought for. We were overcome with emotions that we have been holding onto for years. Seeing the Memorial took me back to 2001 when our lives were all forever changed. It was a day that none of us will forget. Everything flashed through me...I thought about that tragic day, my husband reactions, his enlistment, almost 10 years in the Army, our 10 years in the Army life together with our kids... I thought about his injuries. The injuries that will always be a part of our lifestyle now, that have changed the way each of us view life.
As I stood looking at the Memorial and in a moment of gratitude for all that has been given, I wished I had Kevin by my side. This is something I have always wanted to share with him. With him not being there, I could not have asked for more amazing and courageous women than what I had at my side.
|Me, Gail, and Mallory|
After the Memorial, we rode the subway back to Times Square. We met with all the ladies, moms and wives (caregivers) of Wounded Warriors for dinner at the hotel. It was wonderful to see the beautiful faces and catch up. After dinner, a group of us headed to check out Toys R' Us and the Disney Store. We had more fun at these two stores than we probably should have! Y'all, Toys R' Us is THREE stories!!! And, it has a human size Barbie House in it! How cool is that?
Oh, and we did ride the Ferris Wheel!!!
|Is this not the freakiest Elmo ever?|
|The Toys R' Us Ferris Wheel!!!|
|The Peeps Department on the 2nd floor...this was seen while we rode the Ferris Wheel|
|On the Ferris Wheel|
|Heather on the Ferris Wheel|
|The 2nd Floor Wonka Department...so cool!|
After the toy stores, five of us decided to take some time and relax while having a drink at The View bar. This is the bar at the very top of our hotel...the 48th floor I think. It spins, overlooking NYC and is fabulous! We spent a little over an hour or two laughing and just catching up.
On Saturday, we all woke up and spent the day at the Guild writing, which was wonderful! After that, we ate dinner at the hotel and then broke into our groups to explore the city a bit more. The weather was not the best for sight seeing with all the rain pouring down and crazy wind.
Together, Anna, Heather, Sharon and I took on the city and walked more than 10 blocks to Penn Station so we could ride the subway over to Hoboken, NJ. Yes, you read right! We all had to check out Carlos Bakery...or as most know it, Cake Boss! During the trip over, I faced a major fear...I rode the subway UNDER WATER!!! If you know me, you know I absolutely detest bridges and tunnels, so to ride under the Hudson River is a HUGE thing for me! Of course, this did not dawn on me until after we were under.
The Carlos Bakery experience was fantastic! The only bad part...No Buddy! We were told he was on his way to Las Vegas for a bakery he is opening there. We were all very sad and would have loved the opportunity to meet him. We did leave with a few of our own treats though! Very yummy!!!
|Anna, Heather, and Me (Love these ladies!!!)|
After our visit, we made our way back to the subway and NYC. With feet that ached like never before, I was quick, along with the others, to head to my hotel room after our walk back from Penn Station. I pulled my boots off to find bruises on both feet and decided a shower would make it all better. With wet hair, I sent Heather a message to tell her about my bruised feet and then told her I was heading to Aero for shoes. Yes, Aero was still open...until 2am!!! I found a cute pair of shoes to wear on Sunday because I knew there was no way I was putting boots back on. Thankfully, she decided to walk across the street with me.
On Sunday, we spent the day at the Guild again. I seriously could not have asked for better mentors and a better group! All aspects of it was simply amazing. After our workshop time and dinner, Heather and I walked around Times Square for a bit before deciding to retreat back to our rooms...at 9pm. It was nice to end the trip relaxing in my room and just enjoying some downtime. It gave me the opportunity to take it all in, to watch the NYC traffic and just think.
Looking back, I will always be grateful for this trip as well as the one in September. Words cannot express my gratitude for WWP taking the time and funding to support those of us that have a passion and desire when it comes to writing. They took the time to allow each of us to meet with people in this field that have made something of themselves. Time was dedicated to each of us by these amazing men and women.
I was surrounded by some of the most courageous and inspiring women that are caregiver of wounded warriors, but most importantly, that are wives and mothers loving their veteran with a love that runs so deep words can never describe. Our stores are all different, yet so much alike. We do this because of the love we have and share with our men. I could not have asked for better women. I am blessed to have shared this opportunity with these women and will forever hold them in my heart.
Thank you WWP for allowing us this opportunity, for funding it, and for being there every step of the way as we find ourselves on an unexpected journey. Every time I try to find the right words to show my appreciation to WWP for not only this trip, but the one in Tampa last year, I struggle because works never seem sufficient enough.