“All my favorite people call me Nanna,” says Patricia O’Sullivan of Toms River, New Jersey.
The words are emblazoned on her blue jacket, a 75th birthday gift from her grandkids, all 10 of them. She proudly rattles off their names: Casie, Bobby, Collin, Katie, Faith, Brenna, Johnny, Ryan, Annie and Gracie. “Every time I say prayers, I go through the whole list,” she says.
“I love her,” says the youngest, 2-year-old Gracie. “More than anything,” tags on 4-year-old Annie.
The best part about being a grandma? “There are so many good things,” Patricia says, such as watching her grandkids discover their individuality, or as Patricia puts it, “finding out what makes each one special.”
“Family is next to faith. Faith first and then family,” Patricia says. It’s all about family time for the O’Sullivan Clan. That is what makes time spent at Woodloch so special. Daughter-in-law Janet O’Sullivan’s parents were part of their introduction to Woodloch as were Patricia’s parents, Julia and Jack Carroll who came with the Jolly Travelers from Tom’s River, New Jersey. Returning for her third visit to the Poconos resort, Patricia says Woodloch Pines has become something of a March tradition. “It’s to bring the family together for a good time,” she says.
Sipping hot tea and enjoying decadent desserts on check-in day, Patricia and her family were gearing up for a great week ahead. The best part of their stay? “The kids activities,” says daughter Eileen Regester.
“Food, food, food,” says Patricia, her laughter mingling with others at the table.
Daughter Joanne Sellers says it’s the “sports stuff” that’s a stand-out for her three kids. “Wiffleball, soccer, basketball, and we might go to the Irish games,” she said with full support from her children.
Son Ryan says he’s big on Woodloch’s arcades; the Army game is his all-time favorite. That, however, is only one of them along with kickball and swimming. In fact, he medaled in at least four Woodloch competitions last year including kickball, wiffleball and soccer.
With plenty of cousins to play with, Joanne says, “They’re a team unto themselves in sporting events.” The O’Sullivan clan totals 21 strong with 17 family members able to gather at Woodloch this time around.
Amongst the cousins is a trio of “sisters,” each 10-years-old and born within one month of the other: Katie – December 27th, Faith – January 7th, and Brenna – January 17th.
Brenna and Katie are all about the bumper cars at Woodloch. Oh yeah, and crushing on Brandon, a member of Woodloch’s social staff. Asked what she loves about grandma, Katie mishears the question and answers what she loves about Woodloch. “Better than Disney,” she says. Her mom asks the question again, but it’s funny how her answer still fits. Nanna rates above Disney World. Everyone laughs.
“She wants me to teach her to slam dunk,” Nanna says with a grin. A basketball star in her youth, Patricia was a proud member of the Cathedral High School girls basketball team.
They all think the world of Nanna. There are “too many things and too many ways” to explain why and how much they love her, says daughter Julie Murphy. “They tell me often enough. The hugs tell you,” says Patricia. “Family time is priceless,” says daughter Joanne. “We’re grateful to Nanna for taking us. We are just so grateful that we can all be here and share all these experiences as a family.”