Saturday, February 03, 2007

why I love my computer

When I was pregnant with Emma, I joined an email list group full of other women all due in October of 1997. If someone had told me then what I am about to tell you now, I would have thought them mad.

I'm putting my firstborn on a plane Wednesday night to head to the other side of the country and he will be staying with one of the women I met on that list.

Honestly, I didn't expect to get much from the list. I was pregnant with my fourth and so many were having their first or second. But I stuck around. We posted photos of ourselves for each other to see--excited to share our burgeoning bellies with others on the journey.

I clearly remember my first impression of Laura: L.A. chick, nearly ten years my junior, having her first baby...a cheerleader type. If you weren't part of the in-crowd in high school, you know the voice that I use when I say that. Her photo showed a cute young mom-to-be with thick hair hanging most of the way down her back. Nothing in common between us. I was sure of it and didn't give her a whole lot of thought.

But after the babies were born, something clicked. This was back in the days before unlimited long-distance and we burned up the wires between here and there, carefully weighing our phone bills against the need to share our days with each other in voice. With both households on tight budgets, our husbands were not always happy the day the phone bills came.

When Emma was 15 months old I took her and flew out to the west coast to meet Laura (and others from the list) in person. I think my father thought I was crazy and would surely be greeted at the airport by a serial killer with a chainsaw in his trunk.

When I was pregnant with my Abie, Emma and I flew out again, my ticket paid for by a wonderful group of women from the list, so that they could give me a Blessingway. I remember there was a huge storm coming into this area in the early morning hours just before I was to fly out. My flight, along with a bunch of others, was going to be cancelled. I got on the phone with the airline and a sympathetic woman got me one of the last seats on the last flight out (Oh, Honey. They're throwing you a shower in LA? Then we just have to find you a seat to get you there!"). I just barely made it. What is another word for amazing? That's what that weekend was. With a group of women I would never have met, if not for the piece of crap computer we had at the time.

When Abie was born, Laura and Pam (another mom from the list) flew here to be with me (and take charge of our older kids) for his birth. It says a lot about them that my husband and I (both shy, shy people) never felt a moment of unease with them there with us at such a personal time. One of the highlights of his birth was when, as I held him--fresh and new--I looked over to see Laura and Pam, hugging each other and bawling their eyes out with joy over our brand new baby.

A third mom from the list flew up from NC the day after he was born. We were shoe-horned into a tiny little house and, having just had a baby, were horrible hosts, but they never complained.

A year later I flew out to L.A., Abie in tow, to be with Laura at the homebirth of her second daughter. Abie and Claire, one year and 2 days apart in age, were betrothed before she was even born. How many husbands can say that they were present when their wife was born? Now we argue about which coast they will live on when the day finally comes. Btw, Jake is betrothed to her older daughter. He's eight years older than her, so they will have to wait until he's in his thirties and she's twenty-something so that it's not creepy, but we are patient people.

Through that pregnancy list I met my best friend (who if infinitely more smart and wonderful than I initially gave her credit for). And now, on Wednesday night, I will put my firstborn on a plane to fly 2600 miles to Laura's house. Her husband works in production and has arranged for my boy to have backstage credentials at the rehearsals for a certain music aw*rds show that is filming next weekend (look at me, being all stealth-like). How cool is that? I am nervous (about the flying, not being with Laura and her family) and green with envy but mostly excited for my music-loving boy. Thank you, Laura. Thank you, Josh. And I am eternally grateful to this little thang called the internets that has so enriched my life.

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Anonymous Nicki said...

oh my gosh, how cool is that? Wow!!

You know, I've never met an Oct Mom!!

2/03/2007 6:00 PM  
Blogger Allena said...

that is so awesome!

2/03/2007 11:34 PM  
Blogger frectis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/04/2007 12:02 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Nicki--then you might be the 65 yo troll on the list! I'm going to meet you some day. Well...unless you end up in (whisper) texas.

Kris--he was almost coming home by way of you. In the end his stop is further east (please pray for calm weather in Chicago for Sunday night).

2/04/2007 8:21 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

What a great story! :)

2/05/2007 4:33 PM  
Blogger JayJay said...

What a great opportunity for Jake and a great story about the internet bringing people together!

We will be watching that particular show, so that we can see a certain group that is getting back together on the show after many, many years.....(I am also working on my stealth ;)

2/06/2007 11:06 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

We are especially jealous about that, jayjay!

2/06/2007 11:08 AM  

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