The words to Katy Perry’s song pretty much sum up the weekend I had, starting last Friday night: pictures of last night ended up online, I’m screwed, oh well; it’s a blacktop blur but I’m pretty sure it ruled, last Friday night…
Last week I went to a reunion. Except it wasn’t really a RE-union, because most of us had never met in person before Friday afternoon. When I was pregnant with Melody, I joined an online community of women who were also prego and due in the same month as me, February 2007. Over the years we have taken our group private on a private Facebook group and we are incredibly close knit. One of our ladies lives in Pittsburgh, PA, another from South Africa was coming to the US to see her, someone else said she was going to be in town at that same time, and the whole thing just snowballed from there. I decided it would be the crown of my bummer summer (another story in itself) and John was going to just have to deal with it! He did of course, he is awesome.
In all we had 15 women from all across the US and one from South Africa invade the quiet Courtyard by Marriott in West Homestead on the waterfront. They were kind enough to put us into adjoining or next-door rooms and thank heavens no one complained, because we were far from demure!
The fantastic and really rather amazing thing about this reunion is that even though we were just meeting face to face for the first time, we all fell into those patterns you have with your longest and truest friends. There was never a moment of awkward silence. Frankly, there really wasn’t a moment of silence regardless. How is it that a group of women who have only talked over email, phone calls or text messages for the past five years can feel so comfortable with one another? Maybe it was the cocktails, but I think it was something more.
The online relationship is a new dynamic in human communications, one that sometimes still has a stigma of being creepy, weird, artificial, because frankly there are people out there who are trolls. They are not “real” in their online communications. There are times someone will say something online that they would never consider saying to someone they met on the street! But this community, this pregnancy community that has evolved into a mom’s community, has the benefit of complete honesty woven into it, from day one. There are other online communities like this, mine is not something unique or unusual, but it is special to me and my friends. We know each others’ stories, our struggles, our triumphs and our defeats. Life isn’t easy, but it is somehow better knowing there are 65 women out there who understand you and support you, even if it’s just a quick note to say “I’m thinking of you!” We are far from similar, coming from every background, walk of life, and future aspiration, but we all share the bond of having been there for each other when we needed it most.
At this time last Friday night, we were toasting being together for the first time after so many years of knowing one another. We were toasting how blessed we are to have one another as solid and honest friends as we muddle through this endeavor known as parenthood. We were toasting everything to be honest, the drinks were flowing, the waiter was so kind and took care of us very well, so we tipped him hugely! He deserved it after we camped in his section for 6 hours loudly laughing, shouting, screaming “heyyyyy!” every time a new member of the group showed up. Don’t say we didn’t warn him, because I did as soon as we walked in! Later that night we took delivery of the largest pizza I have ever seen. In my life! It was easily 3′ diameter and had 49 slices, and it was good too. The drinks flowed, we skyped with friends who either couldn’t come or who lived too far away (as in Australia!), told stories and laughed, laughed, laughed, until we cried.
Saturday we went to the Monongahela Incline (built in 1870) which was interesting, and takes you to a spectacular view of the city right on the waterfront. The horns from the various boats and charters rang over the landscape like something I must have heard in a movie, but it was all real. From the top of Coal Hill (as it was known back in the day) we could see the stadium, the sky scrapers, numerous bridges, all blurring at the edges as they blended in with the hilly and tree-covered terrain. It was hot and muggy and there wasn’t much of a breeze, but we didn’t care. We walked around a bit and found a “parklet” which is basically a few benches, some brickwork, and some flowering bushes on an oddly shaped lot at the corner of two streets that have a cattywompus intersection. The buildings were angular and old, smashed in between tired Victorians that have been converted to shops and restaurants. We visited a modern fire station with a gorgeous and shiney snorkel truck, then walked down a cobblestoned street that was easily 100 years old. Pittsburgh is one of those cities that blends the old and new somehow seamlessly.
Saturday night found us at some restaurant where I pitied the tables around us. The hostess foolishly seated a family with a small child right next to our table and it must have been so racous for them to endure! I tried my first (and last!) oyster while another of the ladies just couldn’t gag it down. We enjoyed more martinis and an enormous piece of carrot cake with delicious cream cheese frosting. The food was fantastic…I just can’t remember what it was! :-) After we staggered back to the hotel we settled in the bar for a night cap while simultaneously trying to discourage a tattoo run by a couple of the girls. More laughing, more stories, more drinks.
I hated to leave but I was heading out Sunday morning to visit with my best friend Tara in Knoxville. (I’ll tell you more about that on another post because we had an incredible time that deserves its own entry and photos.) For now I will close by saying I love these ladies like I have known them forever, always in person, and I cannot wait to meet more of the group until I have met all 65!