In 2007, I moved across the country with my then 7 year old son to start a new life with my now husband and his daughter.
Leaving our family and friends behind was difficult, but the promise of true love and companionship was completely worth the risk. As a result of some of the difficulties of my husband's custody fight for his daughter, we found ourselves navigating the legal system which was nearly all consuming for far too long.
As a woman who needs emotional connection, I was truly struggling in finding this. I don't have difficulty making friends, but I did not want to let anyone in to the chaos that was our life surrounding this custody battle. Who wants to delve into the lives of those who had to document nearly every action and sadly nearly every discussion centered around this topic far too long.
I definitely maintained long distance friendships and relationships that had already long been forged, but to connect in person was a big piece of my life that was lacking.
When I found myself with a new baby girl up at all hours of the night, social media became a place of comfort at 3am when I found other mothers of newborns also up nursing or pregnant women facing insomnia who'd find a place to "talk" online at 3am. Twitter and the blogging world became that connection for me. Nearly instantly, I'd discovered other moms of older sons and new or new to be baby girls locally and the blossoming of friendships began.
At first it was just witty or commiserating conversations via Twitter. Then we decided to meet up in person for playdates, consignment shopping and moms nights out. Soon after, a few more moms with similar aged baby girls connected and we decided on a weekly date with our kids.
Throughout those playdates each week, eventually deeper friendships were created. Some of us connected by the ages of our older boys and our newer baby girls or the shared the experience of the death of parent, miscarriages or even a same career choice.
I finally felt I was able to allow myself to connect. Simply connect.
After nearly 5 years of that spirit of friendship missing from my life, it was like I had a light fired up that had been snuffed. I missed it. And truly didn't know how much until it was back in my life again.
Let's face it, in your 30s it is difficult to make new, genuine friends. People are set in their ways, lives are busy, connections are long established and it's difficult to allow yourself to be vulnerable when you have some history under your belt.
These women...my friends, embraced me and allowed me to embrace them. Finding women who accept each other, don't take it personally when one cannot attend a function, accept help when they are going through something, and call just to check in, has made such a difference in my everyday life.
We watched babies be born, we've lost loved ones, we've laughed and cried together, simply walking beside one another....connecting in a way I had only hoped to find again in my life.
I'm grateful and honored to call these women my friends. What started out as a playgroup for our daughters became friendships that I will cultivate for the rest of my life and can only hope our baby daughters will be so lucky as they grow up together.