I'm a part of a couple of groups of mamas, but the one that has meant the most to me, and consumed the most of my social time over the past year-and-a-half has been the one that started out as a book group, and evolved into an incredibly close, supportive, loving and inclusive group of about nine mamas. We met weekly, at one anothers' homes, or at a coffee shop, bar or restaurant. We ate good food, drank wine and herbal teas, and talked deeply about things that mattered to us, whether it was potty training or how our husbands were driving us crazy or a political issue.
When my husband signed up for the Army Reserves, I felt very sad, but thought, it's o.k., I have my mom's group. I kept going religiously to our weekly meetings, unless I was out of town or on bedrest - and even asked that we have our meeting at my house, then.
Back in the fall, one of the mamas stopped coming, at first without explanation; she had separated from her husband and was struggling in her new life as a single mom. I felt a little rejected, but understood; and she said that she still loved us, and all.
Over the past four months, four new babies have been born into our group, and four of us are pregnant and due in May or June. Over January, during and after my partial placental abruption, lots of mamas and their babies were very sick, and with people in town and out of town our group was whittled down to a core of four who came almost every week. It didn't seem like a big deal at the time; people were busy, three of the moms had three children at home now, and I know that's a lot to handle.
One night a few weeks ago, I hosted, and one by one people dropped out until there was no one coming; I made a huge vat of tomato soup and ate it by myself, feeling extraordinarily lonely. This week, there were only two of us. It wasn't terrible, as we've become much better friends in the past month or so, and had a welcome time to chat.
But today, one of the mamas - who I consider a dear friend - said she wanted to stop being involved with the group, effective immediately. It hit me hard, it really hurt me - I felt like I'd been rejected from a cool group, or dumped by a high school boyfriend, or been fired without explanation. It reminded me of a few things I've read recently around the blog world about friends "breaking up" with one another. Somehow, I never thought it would happen to me.
I love my mama friends, they make life so much richer, so much more worthwhile. In both this group and my other great relationships, we have made such big plans, of playgroups and cafes and cooperative kindergartens and how we'll still be one big happy family of friends in 15 years when our kids are all going off to college. I don't know how I would get through my myriad tough spots without them. My husband is wonderful and supportive and I love him through and through, but without my mama friends, well, I think we wouldn't have much of a relationship. I need that outlet, that support, that understanding. My mama friends are my lifeline. I'm an Episcopalian, and I love my church family, but there is something unexplicably closer and more meaningful about my mama friends, who understand me in a much deeper way than my church friends do.
Nothing makes you realize how wonderful something is, than to almost lose it. I've felt that way about my baby, my father, and now, my mama's group. I don't want to lose them. I mourn the ones I've already lost. I'm going to hold on to the rest of my mama friends - the ones in the group and the ones outside it, with everything I've got. I'm going to fight to keep them, because I really, really need them. And that's my love story for today.