I have imaginary friends. Or maybe it's better stated to say, "I know you, but you don't know me...."
You see, I am a regular stalker on many of your blogs. I think it's actually called "lurking," but sometimes the ferocity of my cravings for your sights and sounds overwhelms me and an otherworldly force drags me to my computer to refresh my bloglines and escape my own experience for yours.
Like a wallflower, I spent my first few weeks around the blogosphere reading. First a little here, and then a little there. I shied away from comments, feeling not so sure that I belonged here. Most of the women, while about my age, are first-time moms with little teeny-tinies.
I am a graduate of that class already: my daughter is four and a half and my son teeters on the verge of two. I no longer have babies, or sleepless nights. I no longer fret over milestones, ages, and stages. My days of mommy-and-me-classes, play groups, and the social hierarchy of the playground are mostly past. Of course, there are other worries now and a whole new set of rules for mommy interactions.
Luckily, I have access to a wonderful community of parents at my daughter, L.'s school. Every Tuesday afternoon, while L. and T. are in fabulous nursery school classes, I sit with 13 moms and 1 dad and DISCUSS. EVERYTHING. We even have a lovely facilitator who talks us down off the ceiling after our pre-schoolers start pooping their pants again, picking their noses, and wetting the bed. My husband, Dirk, calls it my Tuesday Fight Club: the place where we all bash our spouses and children with no recourse. And let me tell you, I heart Tuesday Fight Club.
All good things, my imaginary friends, must end. May 23rd our class will celebrate the end of the school year with a potluck at a local park. Then 14 other parents will spend the summer looking forward to next year's Fight Club. But I am going home, even though I'm told you can't do that again.
At the end of June, my husband's eleven years of medical training will finally come to end. Back when L. was first born and my Dad was still alive, we decided that we place ourselves on a trajectory towards Upstate New York, where I was born and bred. I have not lived there since the summer I turned 21, when I moved to Boston and met Dirk. He's not a native to Upstate, but after life in Boston and NYC we decided that we should raise our kids in a place closer to stable family - a place that was especially more attractive due to a reasonable cost of living. And even though I am going home to a place where everybody knows my name, I am losing my community. I'm losing Tuesday Fight Club.
Oh, wait. I was talking about you guys. You see, there is a logical segue, even though this appears to be all about me. You, YOU are my new Tuesday Fight Club. But the best part is, I get to see you every day! And just like my Tuesday moms (and Ralph), you offer me new perspectives on parenting, marriage, and life. I often laugh out loud when reading. Sometimes I cry, and that's a good catharsis on my bad days. I remember what it was like to have babies, not kids. I don't always agree with you, but I kind of like it that way. What better way to think than to be confronted with something that provokes one's strong reaction? It gives me more to talk about over dinner what I heard on MPR.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the single most important woman in my community of parents. My sister is a writer by training and profession. I pushed her to start a blog because I am bossy. No...well, maybe that's true. No, why I really pushed her to write in this forum is that I sensed she needed a community. The kind that proves it really is going to be okay. The kind that's suffered the same kind of losses we have and worse. The kind that shoulders through tough times. The kind that holds themselves up to a tougher kind of scrutiny because they believe they're better for it. The kind that sheds its ashes everyday in the thousands of words and images held up to the light for all to see. The kind that rises anew amongst these precious words, straps on the Baby Bjorn, and keeps on truckin'.
I've drunk the KoolAid, and it is good.