3. Write a letter to a friend every week for one year. - IN PROGRESS
On March 9, 2007 I went to a doctor's appointment that changed my life. I learned that I was--in fact--pregnant (I somehow thought that the 5 pregnancy tests I had taken two nights before were "wrong"). I came back to work around lunchtime, my head spinning. It was a Friday, and after all of the excitement of the week I could no longer concentrate. I am planner. And I had not planned this, one of the biggest events of my life! Suddenly I needed to learn everything I could about pregnancy and babies.
I did what any rational person in my position would do. I consulted the Internet.
After typing in "www.pregnancy.com," I was re-routed to Babycenter. I read everything I could get my hands on, what to eat, what not to eat, what vitamins to take, what activities to avoid, what was safe, how to sleep, what to read, how much water to drink...EVERYTHING. You name it, I read about it, desperate to learn everything I could about what was happening and about to happen.
One day, about a month or so into the pregnancy adventure I found message boards on Babycenter. I found a group of women who were all due in November 2007, like me. I could read along about what they were experiencing, what their doctors were saying, anything and everything. No topic was off limits.
But I found this November 2007 board to be intimidating. There were literally hundreds and HUNDREDS of women posting to the site and I just couldn't keep up. So I started following a smaller board--moms due between November 7th and November 15th. With my due date of November 11th, I fit right in. The group was called "the Pumpkin Pies" (all birth week groups had cute seasonal names. We still have no idea who came up with them). I started following these ladies and soon got to "know" them, purely based on their posts. I looked forward to reading about their pregnancies, and I got to know each of their stories.
Then in May I was preparing for a flight from Baltimore to Hawaii. This was going to be the longest flight I ever took, and my first flight during pregnancy. Up until that point I had not posted to the Pumpkin Pies, but I was curious to see if any of them had any tips or experience with flying during pregnancy. So I posted.
And thus began the beginning of beautiful friendships!
From that point on, I became a regular poster, posting to the group on a daily basis. We updated one another on how we were feeling, discussed our doctor appointments and birth plans, share name choices, and spilled the beans if we found out the gender of our babies before birth.
I once joked to a fellow Pumpkin Pie, "it's funny that I've never met you in person, yet I know more about your cervix than your husband does." Haha! Eww....
While the Pumpkin Pies are a group of women from all over the country, there were a number of Pumpkin Pies that lived in and around the DC area. They started getting together for lunch once a month. Realizing I was only in Baltimore, just 45 minutes or so away, they started inviting me to come along. The first month I was a little too freaked out to attend---I mean, these are people I don't even know, from the INTERNET!! They could be serial killers!!
The next month I realized how ridiculous I was being--especially considering I had seen picture evidence with all of their pregnant belly proof--and wanted to attend, but I broke my foot. (Seven months pregnant with a broken foot is no fun!) The following month I had a Ravens game the same day as the meet up.
Which brought us to October.
The final meet-up, with all of us in our NINTH month of pregnancy. I decided there was no better to time to meet my message board friends in person. We decided on Mexican food (to induce labor!) I was the last to arrive (duh, I'm always late...) and when I walked in and sat down I remember someone saying, "do you need us to introduce ourselves?" I looked around and realized, no I don't! I knew who everyone was. I was among friends.
We had a wonderful lunch and snapped a couple photos. Six VERY pregnant women all in the same spot is a quite a sight! Then we said our goodbyes and planned to have a playdate after the babies arrived. Little did we know one baby would arrive the very next day!
Since that day we stayed close. We usually plan on once a month meetings, though sometimes we'll get together to go to a children's museum, or a pumpkin farm, or a cupcake date. :) We've been through the sleepless newborn nights together, the excitement of baby's first steps, and the craziness of toddlerhood. They are an awesome sounding board to discuss not just babies and motherhood, but life in general. When I talk about my "Pumpkin Pie friends," my family and friends know exactly who I'm talking about...and even know most of the babies by name.
They are awesome.
Here are some photos of the babies together as they've gotten bigger. You can click on any photo to make it larger.
We even held our first East Coast National Pie Conference just before the babies' first birthdays. A fun weekend spent in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where we were joined by other Pumpkin Pies from New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia and even Idaho!
I don't think any of us will forget our "Mamas Night Out" last May...Lindsey even flew in from Georgia and Lisa took the train down from Connecticut. :)
Now THAT'S dedication to Girls Night Out!
And so it only seemed fitting to include some of these awesome ladies on my 30 Before 30. I only wish I could write a letter to each and every one of the Pies. I have a feeling this won't be the last time I reference the Pumpkin Pies in this blog...
But for now, I'll stick with the local Pies. The ladies I have the pleasure to see at least once a month. I've written letters to them, one per week, over the past several weeks. This past Saturday we celebrated the kids' birthdays all together as a group. I decided to mail all of the letters out this week, at the same time. The birth of our children is what brought us together, so it seemed appropriate to celebrate my friendships with them during the same time we celebrated our babies' birthdays.
I'll share a few sentences from each letter to the DC Pie Mommies....in alphabetical order... :)
"I think your dedication to your children and your family is admirable. There's no doubt that Dacia and Timmy will grow up knowing that they are very loved. Come to think of it, I think that's true for all of the kids in our group...we're a pretty kick ass group of mommies. Just keep being the best mom and person that you are already being. Things always end up the way they're supposed to."
"It's so funny to me, because when I remember back to my first "in-person" meeting with the whole group, I remember thinking to myself that you and I would have the least in common. I don't know why I thought that, probably because you seemed to have it all together and I was a hot mess back then, but fast-forward to three years later and that couldn't be further from the truth. You have a fantastic daughter in Ellie, a girl after my own heart with her love of princesses and nighttime costume changes!"
"I so vividly remember the day late in my pregnancy when I found out Sadira was breech and a C-section would need to be scheduled. I cannot tell you how helpful you were to me. It may not have seemed like a lot to you at the time, but when you took the time to write to me and send along all your advice and tips, it helped me TREMENDOUSLY."
"I still remember when you came to the first meetup and I was so jealous of Eva's luxurious locks while Sadira was still sportin' the peach fuzz, haha! I didn't know then what great friends we'd become, but I'm so glad you joined our group because it just wouldn't be the same without you. Who would I plan evenings of chocolate and wine with?!?"
"One time when I was having a particularly exhausting day you wrote to me and said, 'I'll tell you a secret, though. While I don't envy how hard your day-to-day must be, I sometimes am really jealous of the special relationship you and Sadie have now, and always will have.' I wrote those words down because they meant so much to me that day, and they still do."
"I'm especially grateful for our friendship, and I know that whatever the situation may be I can always talk to you openly and candidly. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. You, TJ and the boys have become such good friends to Sadira and I, and we truly love your family so much. Thank you for always welcoming us into your home, time and time again."
Celebrating DC Pies first birthday.
Celebrating DC Pies second birthday.
Celebrating DC Pies third birthday!!!
"I love that we came together as friends, and now our children are friends. I love that Sadira has a group of friends that she's literally known since birth!! I hope that no matter where life takes us, we will be able to continue our friendships and theirs.