Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Windy City

A couple of weekends ago we went to Chicago. Now, this in and of itself, may not come as shocking news. We live close and it is a great place to go, tons of stuff to do for the kids, great places to eat, good shopping (can anyone say IKEA?). Come to think of it I am not sure why we haven't gone sooner.
I have fond memories of Chicago as a kid. I remember the time my dad took me to a Cubs game, just me and him, and then out for some of that famous Chicago pizza afterwards. I remember going to the Museum of Science and Industry on a field trip and me and a friend of mine were able to fit inside one pant leg of William "the Refridgerator" Perry's pants. Fun times.
However, this trip was met with just a little trepidation. We went to meet 20 people we had never met before.
Let me tell you the story.
When I was pregnant with Brady I received weekly e-mail updates from a site called BabyCenter. They kept me up-to-date on everything that was going on with me and baby all throughout my pregnancy. It was so cool to see how my little guy was developing and to receive great advice on all of the fun things I was experiencing. (To read our birth story click here.) Anyway, I noticed one day that on the e-mail it said "Visit your birth board". I had no idea what that meant so I figured I would check it out.
Well, if you have ever been to a message board you know what I am talking about. For the rest of you I will try to explain. The message board was for moms-to-be who were due in November of 2007. I went there and got tons of advice from moms just like me. I had some great girls who went trough GD with me. I got great advice on baby carriers. I also got one thing I didn't expect: some of the best friends I have ever had.
You see, on this message Board was a thread called "Christian Mommies". Figuring I would identify with this group I started reading. I introduced myself (I didn't give too many specifics-you never can be too careful with all the loonies on the Internet these days). Over the next several months of our pregnancies these girls and I became very close. We shared much more than our ever-expanding waistlines. We shared life. We prayed for each other. We laughed and cried together.
When we had our babies we decided to take our board private so that we could share things that we might not want the whole world being able to see. Since then our relationships have only strengthened that much more. We have been there for each other through deaths of loved ones, infidelity, surgeries, illnesses, and more.
We decided about 6 months ago or so that we wanted to meet each other for real. That was the hardest part for us. Many of us are stay at home mothers who crave adult conversation during the day and we have found that in each other. We just knew we had to finally put faces and voices and hugs with the pictures and conversations we have shared.
It was a little trepidating and surreal. But it was also unbelievable to get to hug these women who have been rocks for me over the past year and then some. To pray and cry with them for real. To stay up late and eat junk food and have real conversations. That trepidation wore off after about two seconds. It was like we had all been friends forever, and we just picked up conversations where we left off.
The hardest part was saying good-bye. But we promised it wasn't really good-bye. It was just "see you later".
So, without further ado, I will introduce you to all of my new (old) girlfriends (and most of their husbands and kids who were just dears to come along).

Mommies and Babies (from left: me and Brady, Chana and Maisy, Liz and Jocelyn, Cheryl and Griffin, Kylie and Carson, Brooke and Lauren, Jenny and Evan, and Alyssa and Riley)

Some of the kids in downtown Chicago-Millenium Park

(from left: Graham, Griffin, Evan, Brady, Madison, and Noah)

Everybody at Lincoln Park Zoo

Holy babies, Bat Man!

We are already planning our trip for next year. The group picture with a bunch of wriggly toddlers should be loads of fun! But, I wouldn't miss it for the world!


bethb said...

Lisa, Am glad you found friends that could help you out during your pregancy. You needed the extra support with all you were going through at that time. Your family is beautiful and hard to believe that they are growing up so quickly. The new memories will be special as the kids grow up. Love ya, Beth and Steve

Hadassah said...

How wonderful! The possibilities of the internet are just amazing. There is so much bad stuff out there online, but then again, there are stories like this one, of Christian women finding and supporting one another online.

I think it's great that you got to meet--how special!

Alyssa said...

Wow Lisa! Ya had me crying there at the end :) It really is amazing how we all just *clicked* There was no first meeting! *hugs* Ilove you ladies so much!

And oh- Its Ryley, not Riley. Everyone always forgets :P