I have had a lot of friends over the years. Through different stages of my life, time and circumstance have caused me to be closer to some friends than others at different times. I am glad to still be close to many friends, but since “growing up” most of my relationships have lost the intimacy that they once had when I spent every day with a particular group of friends: high school friends, college roomies, PT school friends, and former coworkers. We still try, but most friends I only see a few times a year and it is hard to cram everything in in a few hours. I am grateful for Facebook to be able to at least follow what most of my friends are doing.
There is a group of friends I interact with daily. I found them when I was searching the internet, desperate for any help trying to conceive the first time around. It only took me four months to get pregnant with Brady, but you see I am impatient, and those four months felt like an eternity. I found a message board filled with women who were also trying to conceive. Daily, we obsessed with each other over signs of ovulation and pregnancy, we squinted at pictures of pregnancy tests trying to see a second line (and when we did not see a second line, we inverted the photo and tried again.) Some of us got pregnant easily, some of us went through fertility treatments, and some of us never got pregnant. We supported each other through negative pregnancy tests, failed fertility treatments and miscarriages. When we were pregnant, we shared our pregnancy symptoms, our fears, our birth stories. When our kids were babies, we examined pictures of diaper rashes, gave advice about sicknesses, breastfeeding, and sleep training. When our kids got older, we started sharing our discipline techniques and potty training tips. This group of woman is the reason I know about at least half of what I know about parenting.
Over the years, our group has morphed from a message board to a private Facebook group. We come from all over the country, all walks of life, different backgrounds, but we are forever bonded in our journey to become parents. Some of us are still trying to conceive and we have kids that range in age from babies to adults. We do not just post about our kids, we post about our daily struggles and victories and life in general. There is something very freeing about posting to a group of “strangers” that do not know your family, your friends, or your coworkers.
Today we found out that one our members passed away. She leaves behind a husband and four-year-old son. News of her death hit me the way it would as though we were friends in real life, even though we have never met. I will forever remember Erin as upbeat, always supportive, and a huge Auburn fan. She had once posted something on Facebook, rooting for Notre Dame. I asked her if she was an Irish fan; I thought it was odd for a person from Alabama to root for the Irish. She replied that she was only a Notre Dame fan when they were playing Auburn’s rival (can’t remember the team because I am not a football fan.) That made me laugh then and still does today.
Even though I have only met a few of the members in the group in real life, we do everything that real friends would do: we laugh together, cry together, and support each other through life’s ups and downs. We just cannot hug each other.
Tonight I wish I could drive across the country and hug every single person that I have ever considered a friend and tell them how much they mean to me because I was reminded, once again, how fragile life really is. I had made a New Year’s Resolution to keep in better contact with my friends. So don’t be weirded out when you start getting random calls and texts from me.