What a weekend!
I had chemo yesterday and I am not feeling great. But I have this past weekend to look back on to warm my heart.
Seven years ago, I was pregnant with Cassidy and stumbled across a web site called Babycenter.com It is basically a site where you can go to get information about being pregnant and being a new mom. You can create a profile and put a photo and some information about yourself like if it’s your first pregnancy, etc. Then you can go into the “Community” part of the web site to interact with others who are pregnant. You can join a “birth board” which is a group of women who are all pregnant and due the same month as you. There are thousands of women on each birth board, and you can get kind of addicted, interacting, talking, arguing about breast feeding in public and elective c-sections. Things can get dramatic and heated and it is in these threads that you find “your people.” The women you connect with. In my case, I seemed to gravitate toward funny, outspoken but sensible people. Both the kind who were in the midst of the drama at times, and the ones who broke into those conversations with well timed senses of humor.
From those connecting moments, you got to know “your people” and would have private conversations through chat functions, and if you were lucky, like me, you got invited to private groups. This is where the magic really happens. I was on several private groups. And people joined and would get into an argument and leave. Groups would break up and regroup into smaller groups. About the time the babies were born and crawling, things general got moved over to Facebook. Once you’d been friends online with someone for a year, it seemed safe to let the non crazy ones into a more real part of your life. So we moved our groups to Facebook. Again, there have been changes, people leaving groups – I even got kind of kicked out of one once. But what has lasted has been some of the friendships. I have met several of these girls individually, in “real life” as I’ve traveled or they have. And it’s always been great. No horrible “catfishing” stories of people actually being a 50 year, creepy man (this has happened, though not to us!) or someone scamming for money. Well, I have witnessed that one but I, fortunately, didn’t get involved.
This weekend, 6 women came to visit me. They could have gone anywhere, as the people I am friends with typically meet up once a year. I haven’t been able to join them for various reasons including timing and the expense of travel. But even though I haven’t been able to join them in other cities for these meet ups, this year, they came to me. The weekend was truly epic. We had an enormous amount of fun. I got to show off our beautiful city. We sang karaoke, toured the homeless shelter at Light of Life where I work. We ate our way through the city at such places as Steel Cactus, The Yard, Enrico’s Biscotti, Hofbrauhouse, and visited other establishments such as Over the Bar and Lava Lounge. We gave a homeless man a cannoli, We rode the incline. We Uber’d all over the city. We even ran into the mayor and he was nice enough to greet my friends and say nice things about me. It was a really fun moment.
They loved our bridges and rivers, were perplexed by why we put french fries on our salads and sandwiches, were moved by the homeless shelter and were puzzled by why people wear black and gold even when it’s not game day. They made me laugh a thousand times. We had heartfelt conversations, took naps and walked many miles. I felt so energized and refreshed by this visit. These women are so funny, generous, adventurous and have bigger hearts than the Duquesne incline car.
Kristy, Jess, Barb, Nichole, Annette, Mandy – you ladies gave me the weekend of the year. I’m so incredibly blessed by your friendships. My life would be less full if I had never landed on the July 2009 birth board.
Here are some photos of a weekend to remember.