I’ve had ‘online’ friendships for years.
In fact two of the best friends I’ve ever had, and certainly have had for the longest of all my friends, are people I met through a poetry website back in 1998. Kesia I’ve never met in person, and Bruce â€“ and subsequently his wife Deonna â€“ I’ve met once only, when they came to England from the US for Ameli’s babyshower.
Back then we used to talk every day. There wasn’t an aspect of each other’s lives, loves and losses we didn’t know about. Life changed and now we each have spouses, children or grand children and the dramas of our ‘youth’ that brought us together no longer exist. We speak maybe five times a year â€“ but we always know where to find one another. I know that I can wake at 3am and and email any of them, and as soon as they are able â€“ be it an hour, a day or three weeks â€“ they will mail me back. (I’m usually the one that forgets to email back, shamefully.)
These are some of my best friends, they’ve been with me through some of my darkest times. Even though I’ve never met / spent no more than a day with them.
As life changes, so do our circles. In the last two years, I started reading the Natural Parent’s Network, until I became a volunteer mentor/author there. I spend most of my ‘chatting’ time these days on Facebook, chatting on the volunteers group. It’s where I turn when I’m down, lonely, have child-related issues, relationship issues, have great news to share, or simply want to read and help and listen to other people who do the same.
Sadly for me all but about two of them are in the US. Amazingly enough, the only other UK-based volunteer lives about 30 minutes from me, and we’ll be meeting up next week. Last weekend, however, all the US-based ladies and their families met up in two locations in the US, and thanks to the wonder of technology, we all managed to ‘meet’ via Google+.
Seeing everyone’s faces in real time, matching their words to their voices and simply observing everyone in their interactions was such a wonderful experience, it left me buzzing for days after.
The ladies had a wonderful time. You can see their pictures on Lauren’s blog, Hobomama and although I joined them from Ameli’s room, in my pyjamas, after midnight â€“ and looked it too â€“ it was wonderful. The ladies have all commented on my voice and accent – I think it’s just the exhausted husky whisper they’ve confused it with!
But, you know, when you’re part of this community it’s easy to be self-conscious about your house not being as green as the next person’s, or your parenting style having down days, or the less than organic dinner you made your family. What’s been truly incredible about meeting this group of ladies has been this: We support each other in our desire to be better, and in our striving to live better without piling on guilt when we don’t reach our ideals. It is beyond wonderful to belong to a community where being what you are is enough â€“ and your desire to be more is supported.
Thank you wonderful ladies.
To learn more about all the members of the Natural Parents Network team, visit our about page. To become a volunteer for NPN, first please check out what we’re in need of, then contact us if you’re interested in helping out. Here’s information about some of our lovely volunteers, including all of those who are writing about the gathering today:
In The First Annual Natural Parents Network Cross-Country Get Together, Natural Parents Network thanks the many volunteers who made our first annual get-together a success, and the awesome companies who donated to fill “welcome bags” for the Midwest group.
Northwest Gathering Attendees:
Lauren at Hobo Mama writes Meeting My NPN Friends. Also find Lauren on Twitter and Facebook!
Amy at Anktangle writes Meeting the NPN Family. Also find Amy on Twitter and Facebook.
Arpita at Up, Down & Natural writes Me And My Ladies ~ First Annual NPN Team Gathering. Also find Arpita on Twitter and Facebook.
Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings writes Seattle Bloggy Meetup & Gluten-free Shortbread! Also find Kristin on Twitter and Facebook!
Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writes Meeting Those People…. Also find Jennifer on Twitter.
Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes writes Thanks.
Moorea at MamaLady: Adventures in Lesbian Parenting writes The Natural Parents Are Coming! Hide the Stroller!
Midwest Gathering Attendees:
Dionna at Code Name: Mama writes Wanted: More NPN Volunteers in Kansas City! Also find Dionna on Twitter and Facebook!
Jorje at Momma Jorje writes Vacation Weekend with Volunteers. Also find Jorje on Facebook!
Amy at Peace 4 Parents writes The Value of Parent-to-Parent Support, Truth, Love, and Healing. Also find Amy on Twitter and Facebook.
Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro writes The Gathering. Also find Amanda on Facebook.
Joni Rae at Tales of Kitchen Witch writes The One Where I Go to the NPN Gathering. Also find Joni Rae on Twitter and Facebook.
Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children writes First Natural Parents Network Get Together.
Rebekah & Chris at Liberated Family. Also find Rebekah & Chris on Twitter.
Fabulous NPN Volunteers who were unable to attend:
Melissa at The New Mommy Files writes Building a Modern Day Village. Find Melissa on Twitter and Facebook.
Rachael at The Variegated Life. Find Rachel on Twitter and Facebook.
Luschka at Diary of a First Child writes Dear Screen Name, Are You Really My Friend? Find Luschka on Twitter and Facebook.
Darcel at The Mahogany Way writes The Natural Parents Network Gathering I Couldn’t Attend. Find Darcel on Twitter and Facebook.
Sarah at Parenting God’s Children. Find Sarah on Twitter and Facebook.
Julia at A Little Bit of All of It. Find Julia on Twitter and Facebook.
Dear *Screen Name*, Are You Really My Friend?
What a touching article! I’m so happy you met up with us & lent your lovely voice to our chat. 🙂 And I so, so want to fly over and meet you someday! You won’t mind if I show up on your doorstep, will you?
@Lauren @ Hobo Mama, honey, I just opened the door to see if you were here yet. *sigh*
So happy you are part of our overseas contingent – and I’m really hoping that we can meet in person someday!!
@Dionna @ Code Name: Mama, Thanks Dionna. Happy to be part of it too and would to meet you too!
Maybe the husky part is from sleep deprivation, but the accent is all you. Here’s hoping we can meet in person sometime.
@Shannon, lol… fair enough. I would love that Shannon. Maybe one day.
I Love YOU too My Lovely. As much as I miss you, I am so happy you have found the support you need in your today.
@Kesia, Thank you darling friend. 🙂 You’re always in my thoughts, even when I don’t get in touch <3