Here’s something you do not know about me.
I am a Sunbeam.
I have been a sunbeam for 5 and half years now.
When I found out I was pregnant, like most other people my age, I headed straight for the internet. Every day I was on different sites, learning all kinds of things about what to expect when expecting, and beyond. It didn’t take long to find various chat sites. I started reading the one for first time moms due in September 2004. After awhile I introduced myself online and was chatting regularly with these other moms to be. We called ourselves the September Sunbeams.
5 and a half years later, we are still chatting, almost every day, especially now that we’re all on facebook. Some of the moms still have just the one child, some have more. Any day now, one of us is due to have her fourth son…4 boys in 5 and a half years. Two others are expecting their third babies right now. A couple years ago, a bunch of them got together to meet, for the very first time, in Chicago. In the entire group of 15-20 moms, only 2 of us are Canadian. For awhile we both lived in Ontario, but now the other mom lives in the Maritimes. The rest are spread throughout the United States, from California, to New York, From Michigan, to Virginia, to Texas, and all points in between. I have heard from these women almost every day for the last 5 years and have never met any of them face to face.
We are all bonded by our first borns, and over the years, have become a close group a friends. We have supported each other over the miles through anything and everything. Family drama, family breakup, divorce, cross country moves, job losses, unplanned pregnancies, infertility, miscarriage, post partum depression, learning that some of our children have special needs or severe food allergies, career changes, and deaths of loved ones.
There have been things go on in our lives, where sometimes the easiest way to get something off your chest, to vent, to ask advice, to work through it, was to email someone you have never actually met, thousands of miles away…and yet… as weird as that sounds, that’s exactly what was needed. That’s what made us feel better – all of the responses from across the continent from these other women, living their own ordinary lives somewhere else completely…women you feel such a connection with…thanks to your computer.
In this group we have single moms, divorced moms and married moms. We have young moms and older moms. We have moms from all tax brackets. We have high powered executives, and we have stay at home moms. We have military moms. We have a mom who works in the auto industry, we have a mom who is an accomplished illustrator. We have a mom who runs her own in home daycare, a mom who is a teacher, a mom who is a Principal, and a mom who works at an American University. We have a mom who homeschools her kids. We have moms living paycheque to paycheque, we have moms that are going back to school.
Some of us breastfed, some of us didn’t. Some of us spank, some of us don’t. From this group of ladies I learned about things like “The 45 minute intruder” and “Potty Training Boot Camp” – which have become part of my parenting repertoire. Some of our first borns have started school, some have not, due to different age cut offs depending on where you live. Some of those kids are doing well in school, some are struggling…some are finding out already, unfortunately, that their child does not fit inside “the box” and that in order to serve their kids well, they need to fight the system. Some of these women love President Obama, some of them absolutely do not. For some of them, religion is central to their lives; for others, it is not. And the beauty of this group is, with all that we have talked about, we do stay away from religion and politics…we know that there are differences, and we respect them. I am proud to call these women my friends, and to have moved past the stereotypes – both American and Canadian. They all know now that I live in a house, not an igloo, and I drive a van, not a dogsled. The one thing that does seem to be true though, is the American love of football. Almost every weekend there is a flurry of discussion about the game, both at the college and professional levels. There is not, however, any talk about hockey. Not even after the World Juniors upset. So that stereotype it seems does hold true.
How can you feel such a bond with people you’ve never met? You can. Maybe it’s because they are there for you no matter what. Because you can tell them as little or as much as you want to and they don’t press for more, or don’t assume to know more than what they do. Because through the daily chatter, that has been going on since early 2004, they know who you are. Maybe not every little detail, but they know your story, they know your backround and they know your kids. They know all about your kids because that’s what you have in common. At this stage in life, when we all have young children, that’s the main thing we talk about and worry about. This is a whole group of women going through the same milestones of my child’s development, and of her life, at the same time. They have known all about her for more than 5 years now and celebrate the accomplishments right alongside me, in their own lives. We all lived through the sleepless nights. Together. The first tooth and all of the teething that comes with it. The first steps. The tantrums. The first time they said “love you mommy” The potty training. The first day of school. The learning to write their names. Losing the first tooth. The talking back. The singing. The obsession with CARS, Dora, Elmo, Thomas, Princesses, Transformers, etc. Together. At the same time. The ones who have since had more children, understand the feelings of betraying the first one, of trying to balance time between the two. Or three. Or four.
Years from now we will support eachother through puberty, first dates, drivers licences, graduations, and the “tough stuff” that life will inevitably throw at us along the way.
With these women it doesn’t matter if you are white, black or bi racial. Catholic, Buddist or Athiest. Wealthy or just barely getting by. Single, Married or Divorced. Conservative or Liberal. It doesn’t matter what your family backround is, whether or not you went to college, who your friends are, what your husband (if you have one) does for a living or what school your child goes to and how they are doing there. It doesn’t even matter if you prefer hockey instead of football. If you are American or Canadian.
All that matters is your kids and how you are feeling and doing as a mom. For just over 5 years we have supported eachother through the highs and lows of this thing called motherhood and we will continue to do so, for many years to come. From near and from afar. These women have made me a better Mommy, and a better wife.
And I’ve never met a single one of them.
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