I’ve been known to sit and count all the states in which I’ve stepped foot. Weird? Maybe. But I don’t get out much and so this is kind of fun.
For the record my poor children have both been to four states. Four. I know, I’m a neglectful, terrible mother.
This weekend, I get to go to a state to which I’ve never been. I’m so excited.
I am going to Arizona to meet up with some amazing women I met online several (okay, almost eight) years ago. I found an amazing online support group right after Olivia was born and spent some time in the NICU.
Wait, let me backtrack. Julie, the amazing, wonderful Julie found the online support group when her daughter was born 15 weeks early and spent over 90 days in the NICU.
When Olivia was born and spent her time in an isolet Julie encouraged me to go on this site and share my story. I hemmed and hawed. I said that Olivia ‘only’ spent eleven days in the NICU, that was nothing compared to Julie’s daughter’s time spent.
Julie kept at me and I’m so, so glad she did. When Olivia was four months old, I went on that site and spilled my guts about the things I felt during O’s time in the hospital and about how we were still, at that point, dealing with a very unhappy, sickly baby.
The welcome was amazing. No one asked me what I thought I was doing there, talking about a full-term baby who only spent eleven days in the hospital. No one though my story was any less than any other parent who worried over their child.
This led to some amazing online friendships and eventually, real live friendships with women who get it when I talk about the Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes. They get those twinges of PTSD. They understand my wonder at O’s accomplishments and my worry over Alyssa being the typical sibling of a special needs child.
And so this weekend, I get to go see these friends yet again. We get together once a year and it’s amazing. It’s cathartic to see them, to hug them, to cry a few tears and laugh so, so many laughs.
Tom and the girls have my mom as backup should things get tough at home. But I have faith in all of them that the house will still be standing when I get home on Sunday evening.