I'm just thrilled about this, and have to share.
Many years ago, when my older child was still an infant, I participated in an online community. This community, while centered on fertility and pregnancy, also had discussion forums for parenting, breastfeeding, and other topics.
Nine other mothers with children, who were practicing attachment parenting, joined me in a "buddy group," which we called "The Peeps." We Peeps posted daily with updates about our families, support when we had parenting dilemmas and bad experiences with society, and general friendship. My online buddies quickly became women I trusted as much as or more than mothers I knew in real life.
One of those Peeps is Lara. Lara's posts were always incredibly level-headed and warm, supportive and sound. We could always trust Lara to remind us on the hard days why we were motivated to parent the way we had chosen to. Even when her own life was difficult, she still kept us focused on being attached to our children.
I should have known she was a La Leche League Leader!
We had been buddies for a long time before I knew she was a Leader, around the time I was being accredited myself. We both knew that our Leader status wasn't a good thing to share online in a public forum like our buddy group was (but most of our buddies now know we're both Leaders).
The Peeps, while still in existence, aren't as active as before, but I've kept in touch with Lara via email. After Hurricane Katrina, Lara, from New Orleans, moved to another town. Last year, at a Leader Development Seminar, I met a Leader from Louisiana who knew Lara, and I almost started crying...this person had actually been somewhere Lara had been, at the same time! I spent as much time as I could with this Leader, because if she knew Lara, she had to be wonderful (she was).
A few months ago, Lara let me know she was coming to the conference, and again my emotions swelled up inside of me. Finally, we'd meet in person! I'd get to give this wonderful woman, who had supported me through so much, a big hug!
Then, she wasn't coming. Lara is pregnant with her 4th baby, and bringing her toddler, and wasn't sure she could pull it off. I couldn't let her off that easy...I knew of a Leader in her area who was bringing two pre-teen girls that wanted to be mothers' helpers! Maybe she knew them, too? Would that help? Please?
This week, Lara bought her plane tickets and will be arriving on Thursday evening to the conference. We traded cell phone numbers and made some plans to spend time together via email last night. Again, I cried! My husband would think I was crazy, but he has met a few "Peeps" already and knows how wonderful they are, and how much I once relied on their daily support. He's disappointed that he and our children won't arrive in Chicago until after Lara and her daughter have left.
We're both pregnant, she's just 10 days ahead of me! We'll have to find a way to hug around our expanding bellies.