What the hell did I do before Facebook? I hate to admit that I'm so addicted, but I am. I don't use the games or the "villes" or anything of the sort. I use it for it's most basic function: Social Networking. When I first started using it, I only signed up as a favor to a friend. My dearest friend Nate gently chastised me for being behind the times in using My Space. So to keep from being a techno pariah, I signed up. What I didn't expect was the enormous number of connections I could make just by catching up with a few people. It was like when you play the old game minesweeper. You know how you hit just the right spot and the playing field blasts open with tons of options? That was exactly how it worked for me. And it was in a perfect reverse chronological order. First I connected with the current people around me. Co-workers, long time friends, family. From there, people started popping up one at a time from old jobs, then college, then high school. With each person who connected there were others that came with the deal. One college friend would have 5 others in their list that I hadn't seen in years, and it was a pattern that kept repeating itself.
As my friend list grew fat, my life took a few quick turns. First we moved to Winston Salem, NC for 6 months for my husband's new job. Wow, was THAT in the middle of no where. Don't get me wrong, it was absolutely beautiful... shades of green that were so fresh and untouched as to look like they were glowing. I also got the chance to take another glass working class with some really talented teachers. The best part of the time there was meeting my awesome friend Colleen (one of two Colleens who are some of my favorite people!) She has since moved to Charlotte, but we keep in touch through (you guessed it...) Facebook. From Winston, we moved to South Florida. I had lived in SoFla before years before and thought I'd like being back there. Once we arrived in Hallandale which is halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Dennis had to go to Orlando for what we thought would be 4 weeks. I was alone, jobless, lost and sad. Facebook helped a lot. I was more of an observer at that point, looking at pictures and laughing along with my friends in their daily status updates. I was playing World of Warcraft at that point too, which helped me keep up with a few specific friends in an avatar sort of way. Dennis' 4 weeks ended up being 3.5 months. I would drive out to see him and he would come home, but it was seriously rough. I ended up with a job as an admin assistant which I won't go into. If you can't say something nice.... The one great thing that came out of that job was my friend Kristi. How in the world we never met before this point is beyond me. I had to move to Florida to meet someone from Baltimore! Toward the end of my time at that job, I was a naughty girl and took internet breaks a little more often than I should. I signed single Kristi up for a free online dating site and shopped men for her. I spent A LOT of time checking out facebook, still playing the part of the voyeur. Fast forward through my next job at Lola's on Harrison (I love you guys!!!) to the thing that turned me from observer to full participator. One week after I got my dream job with Shipyard Brewing I went on a cruise for my year late honeymoon. And immediately got pregnant.
Why would this change things? Well, my closest family member with a baby at that point was my cousin Sandy, and her baby is 17. All of my "in person" friends either weren't at that point in their lives yet or allergic to babies. I needed help! Between the little pitfalls of pregnancy like the heartburn and sciatica to the big issues like a low lying placenta and the discovery that I have a Mitral Valve Prolapse. I had no idea what I was doing, had a million questions and very little help at hand. My family was awesome with advise and support, but I needed peer group help.
Enter the ladies that I consider my momma expert council: Donna Fox, Erica Short Berge http://lifebythehandful.blogspot.com/, Caitlin Callahan Robertson, Becky Marcoux, Katelyn Rosenburger (cousin extraordinaire!) and more recently Stephanie Mansueto and Kelly White Mix. Oh the questions I have thrown at these chics... True greatness comes from these friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in a looooong time. They've supported, encouraged, suggested, answered. And if they didn't have answer, they would either try to help me figure it out or would refer me to someone who did. In addition to these amazing women, I had two friends who were due about the same time I was. Emily Phipps who was great help as she had gone through everything already with her son Tyler, and Sarah Yarborough. Sarah saved my butt in many ways. Not only was she new to all of this like I was, but seemed to have a similar perspective and similar plans. I could ask her things and not feel like an idiot (not that the other ladies would ever have made me feel dumb) because she was going through mostly the same stuff.
The funny thing is, out of the entire group the two women who are the farthest away and that I knew the least in person have become very special to me. I went to high school with Erica and didn't really travel in the same circles. We knew each other and spoke here and there, but it wasn't until we reconnected through Facebook that we really started to become friends. She has a fun perspective on mommyhood, meets her challenges head on and maintains her faith and composure throughout. I met Stephanie for the first time at our friend Adam's birthday party. We were all pretty schnockered (this was pre-pregnancy) and there were soooo many people packed together that we really didn't get to talk much. I was curious about her though, especially since I found out later she was also pregnant and due a few months before me. I also worked with her boyfriend in the beer industry. Chris is a pretty cool dude and it stood to reason that his girlfriend would be super awesome as well. So I started reading her blog and found myself laughing about pickles and waistlines. I liked what I read and I really started to respect the person writing it. I'm just sad that I didn't really start commenting on her blog or emailing until I moved back north. It would have been really cool to get her son Cameron and Alex together. My consolation in this is that we are now the proud partners in an endeavor to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Of course we will both post the results in our blogs but if you want the real thing, you have to be present at bake-time...
To sum up, I just want to say "thank you" to all the above mentioned goddesses and all the moms, women and friends not mentioned. You have made my road a lot more smooth. You all have gorgeous, clever, fun children; which is a testament to your parenting and why you are my much treasured tech support.