I have this story to tell, but I started writing it a week ago, and then I thought, “Wouldn’t this be so cool if I did it to the tune of the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?” And then I never got around to writing it, and now it’s been a week, and I’m afraid if I don’t just tell you, it’ll be too late anyway.
So. Here’s what happened last weekend (as in 10 days ago).
No, I have to go back a little farther. I’m in this Facebook group for moms. It’s been going strong for almost 3 years, and I joined way back in April of 2012, when I went public about being pregnant with B. A coworker invited me to this group that her friend had started, which was, at the time, about 20 women around the country who were all pregnant. It was a fun group of people, and I liked it.
As fun, likable things do, it’s grown considerably. At present count, the group boasts over 100 members, and is relatively drama-free. (You might laugh, but consider what I just said: it’s over 100 women, mostly semi-hidden behind the anonymity of the internet, all engaged in parenting: the activity that turns you into a hormonal, defensive, stressed, confused, second-guesser.) But the group is supportive, it’s helpful, we send each other outgrown Halloween costumes and do Secret Santa gift exchanges and get together when it’s possible and tell each other what HFM/blocked tear ducts/normal diaper rash looks like.
One of the women from the original group (let’s call her Rachael) lived in Nebraska with her husband and her one child and her pregnant belly when I first e-met her. She was one of the women that I really took a shine to. We talked outside of the group, sent each Christmas cards, etc. This summer, she moved to Nevada with her (now three!) kids.
And last weekend, on a complete whim and a prayer, she hopped on a plane and flew to the Bay Area to meet a bunch of other moms in real life for the first time.
See, I had invited the Bay Area contingent of this group to come see the show my work is currently producing. We were going on Sunday afternoon. Jokingly, Rachael started talking about flying out to come with us. We egged her on and offered our couches, and the next thing I know, there I am at the airport picking her up.
Earlier that day, Drew had asked me if I was at all worried that she was catfishing us. I didn’t think that was likely, as it has been 2 1/2 years and that’s a very long con. But when I was waiting at the terminal, and she texted and said, “I just walked outside,” and all I could see was a tall guy standing on the curb – I did have a moment of “Uh-oh…” Luckily, then I saw Rachael a little further down and everything was fine.
It turns out she is just as lovely in person as she is online. She stayed over at my place on Friday night, then on Saturday we did brunch and hung out with some of the group in the East Bay, she stayed with another friend on Saturday night, and then a third friend on Sunday night. I hope it was as fun and casual as it all sounds – it was certainly gutsy to fly somewhere new to stay with a bunch of strangers, and I really hope that it paid off for her.
It did for us – it was awesome to get to meet a pseudo-celebrity, for one…I was a little star-struck. But for another, well, we Bay Area members have historically put a lot of planning into each meet up. Having this last-minute weekend happen where we pulled it together for multiple meals and hanging out – well, maybe it taught us to loosen up a little bit. Also, most of the hanging out didn’t involve children (ironic, since that’s what brought us all together), so maybe it also taught us that we can be friends based on our actual relationships, and not just based on the fact that we all have kids.
At any rate. It was an awesome, whirlwind, crazy weekend, and it all went by too fast. I had an amazing time. I hope we can do more stuff like that in the future. So thank you to Rachael for kicking it all off and taking a chance on us! And thanks for not being a catfisher or a murderer!