ministones

The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Glad to have a friend like you

I received the most thoughtful gift today. My friend Gina sent me a small book she'd created herself, filled with quotes about friendship. She explained inside that it represented how she sees our friendship -- inspirational, humorous and sometimes just silly. She'd clearly spent hours on it, and I was so incredibly touched by the thought that went into that little book. Gina's been a great friend to me for the past few years. Yet, we've never actually met in person.

Gina is an online friend, a 21st century pen pal of sorts. I met her through the ParentsPlace "CyberSister" program, which matches pregnant women with women who had a child a year earlier. Despite never being very active on ParentsPlace, I've always loved to lurk there, and I had requested and received my own CyberSister when I was expecting Julia. Veronica was a fabulous support system to me -- particularly in the early days of nursing, when her experience, advice and support were invaluable to me. So I came back a year later and volunteered to return the favor, and they gave me Gina. I remember the first email Gina sent me... it was so funny, so full of life and so "real" that I left Julia's bathtub filling for too long while I read it and nearly flooded my bathroom. Since that first email, I've sent and received countless more, many of which have moved me to laugh and a few of which have moved me to tears as well. Technically, I suppose my role as her CyberSister should have ended when her daughter Elizabeth was born, but we just never stopped writing. Elizabeth turned 2 this week, and her little sister is only a few months younger than Evan. I've seen Gina through 2 pregnancies and 2 years of motherhood now, and she's seen me through a pregnancy of my own and countless issues along the way. Her emails are always warm and supportive and they are always real. She knows the stories of my life, but doesn't have her own relationships with the people I know, so she's always on my side. And she's a safe sounding board, since I know she'll never be able to tell anyone in my life anything that I've said about them!

Gina's not my only online friend. When I was first trying to conceive, I discovered the world of online communities and spent hours lurking on conception discussion boards. I learned to obsess about my fertility through those boards, but I also figured out that something was wrong through the information I gathered there. Eventually, I got drawn in and met my first real online friend... a woman named Steph who was having similar fertility problems. She encouraged me to talk to my doctor about Clomid without waiting the requisite year, and I'll forever be grateful for that advice. Her Clomid daughter was born just a month before my Clomid daughter, and we still keep in touch regularly as well. I love watching Michelle grown up in the photos Steph sends me, and it particularly amuses me to see her enjoying all of the same games and toys that Julia likes.

I'm not much of a message board poster there days. I lurk on age-appropriate boards for my kids when I find the time and occasionally throw in my 2 cents or post a question when I have a second. The one place I like to visit when I have a free minute is the Grads board for the community that helped me so much when I was trying to conceive. I remember all of the stories of what those women went through to start their families, and I love to check in and see what they're up to now that they're all moms. I know several of them read my blog (Hi Gretchen! Hi Lisa! Hi Piper! Are there more of you here?), and I read some of theirs as well. Yesterday, I popped in to answer a nursing bra question and a woman whose name I hadn't seen in years confessed that she's been reading this blog, too and that we seem to be living parallel lives (Hi Kristy!). She mentioned that she could have personally written about 50% of my entries, and I'm dying to know which ones. :) I think it's so neat how the Internet brings together people with common interests and life stages. I find it so cool that we can use this medium to keep track of each other's lives. And I love knowing that there are people out there reading this blog or a message board post of mine who can identify with what I'm going through and draw comfort from our shared experiences even if we never actually meet.

Motherhood's such a funny thing. In some ways, it's entirely isolating -- we're all locked in our own homes with our own children much of the time, myopically unable to look far beyond those small creatures whom we find so all encompassing, yet whom others give only a passing thought. At the same time, becoming a mom opens the door for entry into the Mommy Club, that special community of women who share knowing glances and shared remembrances, regardless of whether they raised their children 50 years ago or are first starting out today. The key to keeping a sense of humor and a modicum of sanity through these early years seems to be finding a way to connect with that Mommy Club, and for that, I can think of no better tool than the Internet. I am blessed with many real life friends to share this motherhood journey with, and I wouldn't trade those friendships for anything. But I consider my online friendships to be equally necessary to my personal well being, and I'm grateful for all of them. Gina, I don't have the talent to create anything like the book you made me. But I want you to know that I value you and your friendship all the same. Ditto for the rest of you. Thanks for caring enough to read what I write here. And please, keep letting me know you've stopped by.

6 Comments:

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Lisa(lildaus) said...

Ooh, ooh, I was mentioned by name in one of my favorite blogs!!! :)

Seriously, that was a lovely note. And, such true words...."At the same time, becoming a mom opens the door for entry into the Mommy Club, that special community of women who share knowing glances and shared remembrances, regardless of whether they raised their children 50 years ago or are first starting out today." After ttc for so long, I thought I'd never understand that, and I'm SO glad to know that the funny things or sad things or frustrating things I go through now with my daughter are shared with countless others....

I can't tell you how often I'll say, "My friend from the adoption board" or "my friend from my grad board". People in real life no longer look at me like I'm crazy, I've been saying that for so long. My best friend sometimes even asks how some people on my boards are doing (Gretchen, you for one....).

:)

I am FOREVER grateful to my online friends (a lot of whom I *have* met in real life). I could have NEVER gotten through my ttc hell and subsequent adoption journey without you!!!!

Lisa

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Kristy said...

Wow...I'm featured! hee hee. I, too, have tons to say on this very topic (and one day it will make it into my own blog). But for now, I, once again, have a confession: you're referenced in one of my own blog entries. Not by name, but referenced none-the-less.(I promise, I'm not a scary person)

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

OK, not to turn this comments section into a discussion board of its own, but um, Kristy? You have a blog? If you're lurking here and following along with my life, isn't it only fair that I get to do the same? Pony up the link, please! And Lisa, when are you going to start one? You've got plenty of material in Miss Emma, not to mention another adoption journey looming somewhere in the future...

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger Siobhan said...

I'm here too. I think I fessed up on the Grads board at some point, but wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your writing. I, too, am wrapped up in lives of so many people on-line and am often helped or comforted by their stories. I would start a blog of my own to chronicle my motherhood experience and possibly help someone else, but I have absolutley no talent for writing! LOL! I'm glad that you share yours.

 
At 2:27 PM, Blogger Gina said...

[quote] Gina, I don't have the talent to create anything like the book you made me. But I want you to know that I value you and your friendship all the same. [/quote]

But you have the talent to write beautiful things like this (and I'd have thought that even if someone else had sent you something that brought about such an entry). Again, I'm glad you like the little book. It made me sad that I'd had the massive hard drive crash; because, I would've loved to have taken bits and pieces of the past two-and-a-half years and sprinkled them throughout it. We have had some wild, fun, and also very serious conversations over the years. Thank you for being there for me when I needed a sounding board.

 
At 5:08 PM, Blogger Piperdanai said...

Hey! Look!! 1. I'm mentioned here!! 2. I finally figured out how to comment!! It's about freakin' time eh??? ;) It's amazing how many "Friends" I have now too. They are all priceless and I wouldn't trade them for the world!! Maybe some Ghiradelli chocolate, but not the world! ;) ((((((HUGS)))))))

 

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