Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Time marches on

Years ago, when my kids were still in diapers, I spent a lot of time with other mothers: in La Leche League meetings, in Attachment Parenting International meetings, just at the park. The bonds formed by our commonalities were crucial for getting through those first years of adjusting to parenthood.

Some of the moms were more experienced, with older children, and some were less experienced. Some had birthed in the hospital while others had opted for home births. We were mostly breastfeeding moms, and several of us chose to use cloth diapers. Some of our choices put us a bit outside the mainstream, especially in conservative Memphis. And being a bit "fringe" brought us together.

I had discovered this wacky thing called "onelist" (which has since become "egroups" and then "yahoogroups") that made email communication a bit easier. And so the Memphis Mamas group was born. The original ladies who populated this email group were fixtures at LLL meetings or API meetings. They were the women who welcomed me to motherhood.

As the years passed, we've met other women at the park, at the coffee shop, at church, at the grocery store. And the list has grown.

So imagine my reaction when this email came through the list this week:

Subject line: "New generation" of Memphis Mamas

Hey MemphisMamas- your group inspired the one below; we wanted to create something similar for the "next generation". If you know other mamas of babies or young children who could benefit, please pass on the info--Thanks, K
Just wanted to let everyone know about a new yahoo group set up for mamas in Memphis (particularly those with babies, toddlers and young children) to connect with each other online and in person. Although geared to "alternative" parenting choices, there is no litmus test to define that, and anyone is welcome to join.. The idea is that it will facilitate community building among like-minded mamas: online sharing, discussion, and support, a way to let others know of community events, as well as opportunity to set up real life outings and get togethers, etc.

It's part "Awwwwwww" and part "OMG that means I'm old" and part "Huh? I thought that's what our list was for?".

But the original moms in the group are showing that they're still awesome and relevant and even though we don't see each other as regularly, there's still a bond. Because....

S: OMG!!! I cannot believe we inspired a "spin-off". way to go ladies!!! still lurking around online in _____ with e soon to be 11 and m 8. now officially single for almost 1.5 years, and really diggin' it!!! my love to all of you,

S: does anyone else feel old and outdated??

T: I feel old and outdated and "alternative," so I plan on slipping seamlessly between both.

M: i am still hanging around and reading these posts. i don't feel old, just tired....But S, you shouldn't feel old and outdated.. you should feel PROUD!

S: Hey, I'm still here:) Update on my bunch......M is 26 married with 2 kids and one on the way, yep, I'm a Memphis Grandmama!! Z is 23, J almost 13 and A is 11.5!! Yipes!!Glad to hear from everyone.....maybe we should have an in person reunion.....

S: i'll come to any darn party you throw.

Of course I suggested we get together and make doilies and drink sherry. Because old ladies totally do that. But then we'll tie-dye the doilies, since we're alternative. And we'll eat homemade granola.

I miss that fellowship, that sisterhood of young mothers. Our babies in arms, on the floor, playing and nursing and growing together. I miss the nearly-immediate closeness you experience when another woman helps you learn to breastfeed or to fold a cloth diaper, and you're both a little delirious from sleep deprivation. When our babies were born, we made food for each other. We swapped off babysitting. We were just there.

There aren't meetings for us anymore. We don't need the immediate and frequent support that new moms need. We're only sleep-deprived if we stay up too late. We're busy with homework or homeschooling, with jobs and families and home-based businesses, with husbands and boyfriends and girlfriends and partners, with volunteer work or church or recovery.

But it's still nice to run into each other at the store, or the coffee shop. And it reminds us that we really ought to make time to get together again, if only to marvel at how the kids have grown. And make doilies.

1 comment:

Mama said...

First, thanks for tagging me as the big "OG"!! Second, I am misty eyed. We rocked. And we still do. You know, it's easy(ier) to be earthy crunchy when you get to stay at home and have prolactin streaming through your veins. The real challenge is longevity- surviving in the capital juggernaut.