"Ok, so what's the plan? Just tell me the plan and I'll let you know if I'm in." This what Dave asked me over and over again when I told him I wanted to have a baby. And I have to admit... there was no plan. Instead of hitting him with an impressive power point presentation or even a meticulously executed spreadsheet, I would just beg, "Pleeeeeeeease...". Eventually (against his better judgment, I think), he gave in and, well, we never looked back.
I'm the kind of gal who likes to circle something for a ridiculous amount time (this is how I ended up trying for my first child at 39-40ish!), and then close my eyes, hold my nose and jump in with both feet. As I have discovered, over time, my particular "style" does not lend itself well to the "grand plan." It's definitely more spontaneous. More of a sink or swim thing. Once I'm in the deep end, I just tread water like crazy until the current eventually pushes me back to the peaceful calm of the water's edge. And such was the case with Dashell. There was no real plan, or strategy, or even research. Just basically one foot in front of the other, head down, dealing with the obstacles and challenges as they came (and continue to come.)
I usually prefer to get my advice first hand (directly from the horse's mouth, as they say) or at the very least, kind of spitball ideas with others as to how to handle certain situations (like diapering: change it the minute it's the least bit wet, or let it fill up a bit so as not to waste too many diapers or over exert yourself too much?) But during my pregnancy, as far as I could tell, neither horse's mouth nor spitballing were in my immediate future. I had no friends who were pregnant, nor anyone nearby who had been pregnant recently enough to remember the important things about surviving the first year (or at the very least, the first three months!) I was alone. Without a plan.
So after we got Dashell home, and we had a kind of routine going, an intense feeling of isolation definitely began to set in. Like here I am with this wonderful baby, and he's fantastic, but I have so many questions and no one to ask (or even just commiserate with after 3 sleepless night in a row!) It wasn't that I couldn't do it alone, but more like I realized how much more fun it might be if I could just meet a couple of other people in the same boat.
This is when, after lurking on Diana's blog for, oh, about nine months, I finally reached out to her by commenting about bottles or nipples or something ridiculous like that... and my world changed.
Diana invited me to come to a mommy support group that she was part of. It was so great to meet these other people who were experiencing all the same things and had many of the same questions I did. But the best part wasn't the group that was organized by one our local hospitals, it was the group that Diana and Alex organized around some of the mommies attending that support group.
Initially they just coordinated casual group lunches, and then Diana made a contact list, and then Alex started a Google Group. And now there is this large group of mommies that gets together for playdates, and asks each other for advice, and (best of all) supports each other as we all wade through these often eventful and sometimes uncertain waters of motherhood.
I'm not even sure everyone in the group knows exactly how the group came to be or who they should really thank when they attend a playdate, or get some much needed time with other mommies, or when that answer they've been seeking, turns up in their email. But, even so, I think we are all thankful to be included in this fantastic, and very special, group.
I feel so fortunate that I was invited to be part of this. I have made so many wonderful friends. Friends that I hope I will have for years to come. And I know that Dashell's life has been enriched by so many of their suggestions: Mommy (or Daddy!) and Me classes, swim classes, playdates, etc.
When my brother and I were born, my mother had a group like this (but on a much smaller scale) and when I got pregnant, I never imagined I would find something similar. I also never imagined, with my full-time job, that I would be able to continue to feel such a part of something.
Thank you Diana and Alex for including me in this wonderful community you built. And thank you to all the wonderful friends I have met for continuing to reach out to me (even though periodically I have had to disappear for long periods of time) and for being there for me recently and helping me through a very difficult time. It has all meant more to me than you can ever imagine.
Sorry to get all sappy on you. Just scroll down a little bit further for the fun stuff...
Today I had off from work, so Dashy and I were able to host the Friday playdate! Yipee!!
At 12 o'clock we were out in the yard playing, waiting for people to arrive. In the distance, Dash hears something... What could it be??
Everyone showed up and much fun was had by all...
Here's a little montage of our hot (98 degrees!!) but wonderful day...