Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The FebMoms

Eleven years ago I became pregnant with Eldest Daughter. And at that time I joined a listserv of women due in February 1998.

Since then, our list has dwindled from more than 200 women to a core group of 30 who live on three continents and in four countries.

We've seen each other through subsequent pregnancies and miscarriages, divorces, moves, career changes and major lifecycle events like sending one's firstborn to college. We've agreed to disagree on politics and religion, and child rearing philosophies. Many of us were fortunate to take our relationships from cyberspace to real life.

Four of us are here in the Bay Area. After a few years, Jen and I discovered that we lived close to each other and shared mutual friends. We have participated in three Nike (Half) Marathons with other FebMoms. The picture above is of Jen, Deb, Adri and me at dinner the night before the 2006 race. Whenever I see a picture of Deb I am reminded of one of Jen's better quips: we have to enjoy our facetime with Deb because she's so fast that during races, we only see her a$$.

We saw Kathy this summer in Boston. Kim and I do similar things professionally and even though our politics are polar opposite, I love her and understand why she votes the way she does. Tory and her family showed us a great time in Hong Kong several years back. Abby, our founding list mama, spun me the most incredible wool that I am knitting a sweater of.

It's hard to articulate what this group of women has meant to me over the past decade. I know them better than I know most of you. They are quite privvy to the sick innerworkings of this brain. (Please, sisters, be kind and take it all to the grave.) There is always someone online to discuss a school situation, global warming or a new use for avocados.

My heart shattered in a million pieces when one of us lost her second pregnancy in month 5 then shattered all over again when she and her husband split up because of his violent demons. I cheered when another became reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption. I pray for one as she parents the children of her own teenagers.

Paula was a FebMom. Jen called me and broke the horrific news. I then phoned Kim, although it was close to midnight in Georgia. I called her cell, just in case she was blissfully ignorant and asleep. She answered on the first ring and said, "I knew you were going to call."

You would have liked Paula. Born in Massachusetts, living in Connecticut, and supporting her family through her work as the assistant provost at a major university, she had this clear-cut, take-no-prisoners way about her. She didn't couch her opinions; you knew what she thought and you knew where you stood. But she was never rude; she spoke with ease and grace. I respected that about her. Like me, she was a liberal Jew. I miss her.

The FebMoms list has been especially active this week. We're sharing stories about Paula, and making plans to help Rich and Jack, her surviving husband and son. I think about Paula even more today, Rosh Hashana, as Rich and Jack go to the synagogue without her. At least they will be surrounded by friends and family.

I am sad, so sad that she is gone. But I am a better person for having known her.

1 comment:

Kim said...

This was beautiful, just beautiful. You know how much I love you.