Ten and a half years ago, I was the mother to two kids, ages 4 and 2 and pregnant with another. I stayed at home and lived a very isolated life. I didn’t go out because it was just too hard to drag 2 kids, plus my pregnant body out anywhere. I was stressed, I was frustrated, and I was alone. That all changed in Oct 1999 when we got our first computer and hooked it up to the internet.

One of the first things I did, other than set up a lame email address, search for internet porn (don’t judge, you’ve done it too), and “google” myself (wait, was google even around in 1999? Maybe I downloaded illegal music from napster?) was stumble across MSN Communities. This is where a whole world was opened up to me. There were groups for everything you could imagine. I soon found a group dedicated to Stay-At-Home-Parents (SAHP)

A lot has happen since that time, although I’m still a member of that original SAHP group, MSN has since shut down their Groups and most have moved servers. I’m not as active in that group, because, as often happens, I found myself growing closer to certain indiviuals and we eventually broke off into our own group. I now manage a group of crazy moms and dads.

The most important thing to come out of this was, I found my best friends. They go by the names of Zatzme, Jeep, Dixon, sMelly, Prickly, Saj, Fabs. I have people listed in my phone as Lovin’ and SupaCat. I talk about these people as if they live next door. They are better than next door. They live in my computer, and in my heart. I’ve known “Zat” and “Jeep” since early 2000 when I was struggling to find  my voice while being the sometimes single mother to three. I’ve spent weeks in Zat’s home and have watched her kids grow up. Jeep lives way too far away and I see her far too infrequently, but at anytime I can send a text, or an IM, and an email, ad she is there. They have seen me through times that my so-called real friends have bailed on me. I got my sweet Havoc puppy from Saj.

When my dad died, after calling my husband to come home, I called Zat. I couldn’t even speak, but she was there for me. She talked to me on the phone during the countless hour long drives to my mom’s to take care of the arrangements. She was there at 3am if I couldn’t sleep. When people in real life didn’t know what to say, she knew that she didn’t need to say anything.

Jeep is the one you want in your corner. She is our voice. She will fight for you as fiercely as she would fight for her own family. She can be snarky and quick with a quip, but she will also cry with you when your world is falling apart.

These women are my sisters

This week, one of our sisters lost her baby girl. We still don’t know what happen. They think it was a cardiac infection. All we know for sure is that our friend, our cyber-sister, is hurting in a way that no one should ever hurt. Our whole group is rallying around her family in a way that you just wouldn’t believe. We raised over $300 for flower arrangements alone. We have that much or more donated for food and one of our members is going to make meals to take to the family. We’ve collected money to get things for sweet 5yr old Emily who is missing her baby sister and just wants mommy to be happy again.

If you look at our group’s message board, you will see posts fro people with nothing more than a heart or flower. You will see people asking what they can do. You will see others saying how great this group of people are and how amazing it is that we can all come together like this to support one of our own.

How nice it would be if these people were just screen names. If we could turn off the computer, walk away, and leave them neatly in that little box. But they are so much more than that. The are Wendy, and Sarah, and Amy, and Jenny. They are my friends. My REAL friends.