Tag Archives: motherhood

Meeting A Best Friend For the First Time

This weekend I met six besties, BFFs, biffs and believe me, it was a BFD. I’ve blogged about these ladies before but we met on the parenting website BabyCenter in 2007 and formed a group focused on fitness. Six of our 10-member clique met in person for the first time Friday and spent the entire weekend together in a condo in downtown Chicago. Almost sounds like a reality TV show, eh?

We’ve been looking forward to meeting in person since those bonds were forged over swollen bellies. I’ve met a few of them as they’ve looped through Chicago or when I’ve winged through New York. But all of us under the same roof? Eeks! What if you don’t get along? My husband asked. What if you guys get in a fight and it forever changes the group? A friend questioned. What if they’re not as cool as you think?

I blew off their questions. We’ll be fine, we’ve know each other so long and have shared our lives’ most intimate details. Everything will be fine. Inside, though, I was nervous. We run the spectrum on racial backgrounds, tax brackets, religious beliefs, and political persuasions. Will we get along?

First of all Chicago’s air traffic didn’t disappoint. The girls came in from Minnesota, Texas, New Jersey and Florida. Practically everyone’s flight was late and the city was properly clogged with Blackhawks celebrations, so we got off to a later-than-normal start. We picked our rooms in Real World type fashion: First come first serve. All the rooms had spectacular views from the 38th floor across the street from Millennium Park and near the lake front.

At first it was me and Jess unpacking groceries and prepping snacks. Then came Sarah and Brady and there was never that awkward first-date feel. We all fell in lock-step, not like friends, but more like family. We traipsed up and down Michigan Avenue, I bought too much but what else is new. We chatted and shopped and laughed and talked and giggled and gabbed.

We noshed on Chicago’s famous pizza back at the condo while Linds arrived and then we waited for Lynn. She was set to get in after 11 p.m., and a welcoming committee of three met her at the L stop. It was a relief to have the last piece of the puzzle in place, we were all here. Our Hawt Mamas group.

The next day there was the Field Museum, Blues Fest, World Cup soccer watching on the Magnificent Mile, tapas at Cafe Iberico, followed by Navy Pier at night. We did a lot, but the best part was just lounging around the condo talking about everything and nothing. It was freeing to talk face-to-face with the girls instead of pecking out feelings on the keyboard.

The more I thought about that feeling of comfortability, the more I realized I truly love these women and they love me back. Unconditionally. And that was probably the most surprising thing about the weekend _ how unnaturally natural it was to meet a best friend for the first time.

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Eating My Words … (Again)

I sent my kid to daycare today with flashing shoes and a black Thomas the Tank Engine T-shirt. I’ve become that parent. The following is Case No. 849 of me eating my words:

Before Logan, I’d see kids in stores and on the streets covered in over-the-top animations of cars, trucks, fairies, princesses, Care Bears, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and every other Disney character imaginable. I’d make a judgmental mental note, when I have kids, they’re not going to look like an advert for the Cartoon Network.

Some of these kids also had shoes with blinking lights, bells and horns. Horns!!!! But mine wouldn’t.

This week we go shoe shopping and unfortunately not the kind of shoe shopping that used to culminate in boxes of edgy stilts and flirty wedges. It’s shoe shopping at JCPenney in the “family section.” I go there for shoes for the little guy because you get good brands for very little cost. We mostly do Stride Rite, but I don’t like Stride Rite prices. Plus if your kid suffers a meltdown, no worries, you’re surrounded by sympathetic moms.

So I’m there, checking out the selection and Logan spots these black gawd-awful shoes with plastic red cars. “I want THAT ONE!” I tried to make snazzy gray Sketchers seem cool, but they were no match for the red car shoes that blinked red. I caved. I bought them, and he couldn’t have been happier hopping out of the store with strobing shoes.

The shirt was also a recent purchase and I saw it, knew he’d love it and told myself it wasn’t as horrible because the shirt was black. (The lies we tell ourselves! It’s actually very, very ugly)

But that’s the way it is. You think you’ll be one kind of parent and your kid teaches you that you’re another. And it’s all perfectly fine because they’re the greatest, hardest lessons you’ll learn.

It Takes an Online Village to Raise a Child

Social Networking has left its thumb print on us all. You’re reading this blog, you’ve undoubtedly run across cringe-inducing TMI on someone’s Facebook page and if you Tweet, you’ve shared a bit of randomness yourself. It’s music, news, politics, business, sports, celebrity gossip and your gossip, nothing is untouched. Not even parenting.

The websites are too many to count: Baby Center, Parenting, JustMommies, Baby Zone, and GreatDad just to name a few. But they all serve to bring us together as parents so we can… well crowd source our parenting.

You just found out your pregnant, you hop online and begin to scour these sites for any and all tidbits and so it begins: Am I the only one who’s freaked out about having a baby? What on earth is going on with my boobs? My baby will only sleep during the day, help!

And helpful it is. There’s advice after advice after advice. Some of it is really good and you connect closely with people who are on the same leg of this mommy journey as you.

I was lucky enough to join two wonderful only communities when I was pregnant with my son Logan. I’ve been part of these two particular boards, as they’re called, for three years. These women know me. They know me and love me warts and all and I love them just as unconditionally. I’ve met some of them in person, which is always so exciting and seven of us are planning a girls weekend next month in Chicago.

We’ve been through a lot together. Not just the birth of our children and various bumps and bruises, there’s been miscarriages, one woman lost her husband who was fighting overseas, lost jobs, new jobs, new homes, marriages on the brink of divorce and couples rekindling their love.

We’re a varied group, some work in the home, others outside the home. Some have financial difficulties, other’s are well-off, we’ve got staunch liberals and staunch conservatives. But our connectivity is our glue. We support each other, help each other in any way we can, even if it’s just listening to a rant.

My how times have changed. With grandma no longer down the hall, down the street or even across town, recent generations have raised children with a lot less support than decades past. Social networking has changed all that as we’ve created our own community.

Good thing too because this parenting thing is tough stuff and it does take a village.