Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Friends

Sometimes, you get lucky enough to find a true friend that lasts a lifetime.  Someone you can trust, someone who loves you and doesn't judge.  I don't think there are many people in the world who can say that they have even one person in their life like that.

I, on the other hand, can say that I have 61 of those people.  Yes, I typed SIXTY-ONE.

Let me explain...

When I was trying to get pregnant with Middleman, the internet was new and exciting (to me anyway).  It was 1998 and although I'm sure it had been around for a while before that, this was the time that I was introduced to the world wide web.  One of the sites I first joined was ivillage.com.  This place was AMAZING for people in all stages of their lives...single, dating, married, trying to conceive, parents of kids from newborns alllllll the way up to empty-nesters.  This site was a GOLDMINE for me.  I learned more about fertility than I ever needed and, through their forums, "met" some very special women who have been with me through all these years.

I started in the "TTC Another Child" forum, posting my woes about not conceiving when I wanted to, wasted pregnancy tests and psychosomatic symptoms.  I loved that there were women going through EXACTLY what I was going through.  Slowly, but surely, most of us got pregnant.  I'm sure there were a few that, sadly, never conceived and kind of dropped off the radar, but the vast majority of us "graduated" to the July 1999 Expecting Club.

We shared the joys and pains of pregnancy.  We were from all walks of life.  All ages, colours, religions.  Several of our members lost babies and we cried and prayed along with them.  Some got a double blessing of twins.  We gained new members along the pregnancy road, asking for and giving out advice.  We had such a special bond.

One by one (and sometimes by two) our babies were born.  We rejoiced together at finally having our bodies back to ourselves.  We posted our birth stories....some horrendous, some long, some easy....ALL amazing.  I remember logging in several times a day, watching for the final babies to "hatch" and to read their birth stories.  Middleman was due to be born on July 7th, but he decided to make his big arrival on June 29th.  But I stayed with the July 1999 group anyway...these were my sisters!

Slowly, as our babies were born, we graduated to the July 1999 Playgroup.  We went back to the Expecting Club to support our friends who were still hanging in there, waiting for their babies' arrivals, and eventually, the last Mamma left the Expecting Club and joined us in the Playgroup.  That playgroup was an absolute Godsend for me.  Even as a "seasoned" second time Mom, I was unsure of things, scared when Middleman got sick, in need of teething and breastfeeding advice.  And I always knew where to find it.

We had fights.  Some DOOZIES.  Many pity parties and many "I am leaving, never to return" posts...many of which were mine. (blush)  I look back now on all the drama and giggle at some of the silliness we fought about.  We lost a few members along the way...life changes, loss of interest, who knows what other reasons, but the core group remained.  We supported each other through illnesses, job losses, divorces, family deaths, tornadoes, EVERYTHING.  We celebrated our kids' milestones, anniversaries with our spouses, marriages, re-marriages, and many, many siblings! 

At one point, and I can't for the life of me remember why, a large group of us left ivillage for a place called The Parent Perspective.  Ooooh, now that I think about it, I think a major reason was that ivillage changed their format and we didn't like it.  TPP had the old style format we were used to, so we hung out there for a while.  But, it turned out that the owner of that site was a bit of a shady character and did some pretty shady things.  That's when I bought my own domain and opened FriendUnite.Net.  FUN was a different format again, but we loved it there.  It was private and we moderated ourselves...no outsider rules.  But we missed our old friends who stayed at ivillage.  Some of us posted in both places, but it just wasn't the same.  After about three years, there were only a couple of us left at FUN and the ivillage board had also died a slow and painful death.  But there were little mini groups of Moms who stayed in touch.

Enter Facebook.

I created a private group on Facebook and sent out the word to those I remained in touch with to tell their friends.  I was so excited that our group would maybe re-form!!

There are 61 members of that Facebook group.  We have patched back together like pieces of a quilt...each one different, but having that common thread of our 1999 children teenagers (GASP!)  These women are closer to me than my "real life" friends.  These women know things about me that no one else knows.  I know things about them that only "we" know.  There is something special there that will never br broken, no matter how many breaks we might take.

From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful for the gift of these friendships.  In my darkest, saddest days, I logged on to my group and knew I would have support.  Loving, non-judgemental, genuine support.  I know that I have given that back as well.  I hope that I am invited to alot of weddings in the coming years.  Seeing my "cyber-babies" grow up and leave the nest.  Auntie Dawn loves them all very much.  And I love their Moms...more than they can ever imagine. Pin It

4 comments:

Kate said...

Aww! This post was really sweet!

Karin said...

I still can't believe their going on 13...WOW!

Karin said...

Wow! I still can't believe they are all going on 13 years old. Those sweet little playgroup babies....teenagers??

Wendy S said...

That's amazing that you're all still together.

I too have a small group of "mommy" friends who have traverse the internet together bouncing from group to group. There aren't 61 of them, but they too know things about me that no one else knows :)

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