I've been online now since 1993, and over the years I've "met" some wonderful people, some who have become so special to me as to be considered true friends. Back in 1996 I found myself pregnant for the first time, and desperately surfing the web for information on pregnancy. I happened upon a post on a bulletin board, asking anyone who was due in July of '97 if they would like to join an email "loop". I had no idea what this was, but it was my chance to connect with other pregnant women who were all due at the same time as me!
When our loop first started, there were over 30 of us and the emails were sending sparks off our computers, everyone trying to learn every one's names, kid's names, husband's names, locations, etc. This was an exciting time for us. Some were on their first pregnancy, while others were already on their third. There was one woman, who thankfully dropped out of the loop later, that I totally despised. I'll call her Gwendolyn here. Not only was she the most cheap person I'd ever had the non-pleasure of meeting, but she absolutely hated being pregnant, because she'd lost her "gorgeous" 6-days-a-week-workout body. She even said the feeling of her baby moving inside her had her disgusted, and explained it like having a snake slithering around in there. I swear, if I had to hear this woman tell one more story about making a box of mac and cheese stretch for a family of four, I was going to impale myself on the nearest sharp object.
I was overjoyed when she left our little loopie family!
So we all had our babies, and the years passed. Hubbies finally got used to the idea of our close-knit group and constant emails, and even got in on the action to email the loop with birth announcements! We are simply known as "The Loopies". Anyway, the kids grew, more kids came along, and many people dropped from the loop for various reasons. These days we're down to thirteen of us, I think, but we are close and know so much about each other's lives that we may as well be next door neighbors. Over the years some of us have met each other at various places around the country. I've met one loopy a couple of times; once at her home in PA, and once when she came down to FL, we spent the day with her and her family at Magic Kingdom. Met another family from KY at Disney when they came for a visit, and met yet another, this one from Mississippi when she was here on a business trip. It was so fun to get to see my friends face-to-face!
We're scattered all over the country, and beyond. We span FL to NM, to NE, to OH. We have one that lives in Canada, and another who is temporarily living in Costa Rica! We're a pretty varied bunch, with most of us stay at home moms these days, but some that work from home, and others that work away from home. S is a cyber cop for her local DA, C is a nurse, LS a retired physics teacher, D, a stay at home mom of NINE that also home-schools. CB is a writer/editor and has a wonderful way with words and a sharp intellect. CH is the entrepreneur of our group, and works out of her kitchen making fabulous, all natural, lotions and potions. Check her out at www.skindazzles.com and tell her Justine sent ya!
When one of the girls found out she had breast cancer, we all gathered together in the only way we knew how. We each ordered a pink breast cancer awareness bracelet, and vowed not to take it off until C was cured. We said our prayers, gave her a cyber shoulder to lean on and an endless amount of encouragement. I don't think I'm the only loopie who kept that bracelet on until C was well again. When life throws a curve ball our way, we stand solidly together and push each other through until no more help is needed.
Each person in our loop represents something special to me. All of us are different and all of us add something special to our group. One gal in particular is special to me just because of the lifestyle she leads and how different it is compared to anyone else I know. I'll be writing a post about D in the days to come, because her life is so interesting to me. She's probably the polar opposite of me in about a million ways, but there's no one I respect more, or admire more as a mother and human being.
Anyway, the next time someone says to you, "How can you feel close to someone you've never met face-to-face? How can they be a real friends?" You can tell them my story, about 13 women who have been "together" for over 11 years now, sharing everything from childbirth to breast cancer, to children's trips to the ER and the daily comedy that is life.
Until next time, Justine :o )
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