As you might know, my family motto is, "Putting the F. U. in fun," which I consider to be at least one step beyond "Putting the fun in dysfunctional."
As a child, I grew up with my brother (same mother and father), (step)sister, and stepbrother. My sister has always been one of my best friends. Her (*sigh* okay, our) brother has been a source of wonder and chagrin.
Down the road about 80 miles, bio-dad and his wife (my "Wicked Stepmom," whom I adore... and who is another of the best women in my life) raised my two half sisters.
Eventually my mom and dad divorced and, as Dad is wont to do, he remarried pretty quickly. Margaret has two daughters that I sort of think of like stepsisters almost. Anyway, I think of their kids as my nephews and nieces.
You'd think a girl like me wouldn't need any more siblings, right? Well I think I've got room for more.
When we were expecting Madelyn, Tom and I took a prepared childbirth class together. The instructor, Pamela, was phenomenal. She also teaches a new mommy group after the babies are born. Two of the women from my childbirth class were in the same group. (Okay, so three women, but one was only there once and we were all... including Pamela... relieved when she didn't return.) It was nice to see familiar faces. Pamela strongly encouraged the mommies to meet for lunch afterward each week. Some of us did. Five of us continued to meet for months after the five-week course was complete. We are still in contact, although some more than others. We're an odd mix, because the only thing we have in common is our babies.
Think I'm kidding? Here's a summary of each of them:
Lauren celebrated her 21st birthday during the mommy group class. She's from New York and away from all of her family for the first time. Very private, unfortunately, she dealt with a serious case of postpartum depression. She just had her second child and except for a confirmation through Jennifer that everyone was doing well, we haven't heard anything.
Next up is a Jennifer, who came to class with her expensive sunglasses on each day, as though it was too bright in the building. She has established a mommy group through her church and doesn't really hang with us anymore. My heathen beliefs and attitudes could very well be the reason.
Third in line is Valeria. Valeria, from Belarus, is a former model. She used to work for Disney doing something with costume design. Now she is working on her own fashion line. Valeria and her husband were in our childbirth class. She and I are on the cusp of friendship even though she is a germ-obsessed (seriously... she put hand sanitizer on her daughter's hands because Sami put her hands into her own water cup) mom who can't fathom letting her daughter sleep in her own room. "It's so far." (Uh, it's less than 30 feet away and you have a video monitor.)
Last up (in order of preference) is Heather. Heather is the mother of Luke Skywalker. Yes, I'm serious. I, the least sci-fi person on the planet, have sister love for someone who named her kid after a character from Star Wars. Heather and her husband were in the childbirth class, too. Nobody really hung out and chatted there. Tom saw them arrive at the hospital while I was laboring. Girlfriend arrived three hours after us and delivered four hours before us and I still like her.
On the surface, we don't have much in common either, except that Luke and Mad were born on the same day, mere yards apart. Her approach to dealing with feelings and emotions is much different than the way I tend to move. For example, feelings and emotions are important to me, but not necessarily the driving force in decision making and interacting with others.
Maybe it's that we both come from crazy families. And that we are both talkers. That's probably enough right there. Whatever it is that forms our bond, it seems to be getting stronger.
Yesterday I found myself consulting with her about Madelyn's birthday. Last year we did a huge housewarming/Mad's first birthday bash. It was way bigger than I'd wanted for her birthday, but I didn't want to deal with two parties. We scheduled it pretty quickly, not thinking about the fact that we might be interfering with their plans.
Once we decided, then Heather and Richard got to choose their date for Luke's party. And do it around the other babies' parties, too. After all the way-too-big parties were over, the mommies made a pact that we wouldn't do that to ourselves next year. We agreed that private parties with family and then a small get-together where the kids draw names would be better for everyone.
Two days ago I made the mistake of asking Tom an open-ended question.
"Got any thoughts about Mad's birthday?"
"Yep. I think we'll keep it small this year."
"So the family..."
(The family, not our family. Okay, that's 24 people.)
"... and some of our friends. And of course, Mad's friends. She should have some people her own age."
So a "small" party is approaching 40 people. Yes, he is crazy, thanks for asking.
I called Heather to commiserate and to see what her plans were for Luke. She is going to see if she can stick to our plan better than I could. I'm pulling for her.
She was surprised when I asked her to figure out Luke's date first, but to me it only seemed right. I feel like we're related and our kids have the same birthday.