In Real Life: Saved

In Real Life blogger friends Nancy Franson, Deidra Riggs and Mary Bonner
 It took two towers crumbling into a heap of soot and tangled metal, one wailing baby and acres of waving grain for me to pick up the phone that day and call for help.

My oldest son Noah was just four weeks and one day old on September 11, 2001. We had moved to Nebraska nine weeks prior, and as I stood in my living room and watched the Today show in disbelief, the Twin Towers tumbling straight down, I paced the living room with my screaming infant as the tears rolled down my cheeks. Never had I felt so alone or afraid. My entire family and everyone I called a friend lived 1,500 miles away. My husband was at work at his brand-new job. I didn’t even know the neighbors’ names.
Later that afternoon, before Brad cancelled the rest of his classes for the day and came home, I called the hospital where Noah had been born just a few weeks earlier. I talked to a pleasant, remarkably calm – given the day – receptionist, who referred me to a group called The Mom’s Club. They met every Wednesday morning at the Lutheran Church on South 27th Street, she told me brightly.
I didn't know it at the time, but my life had just been changed.
The next week I showed up at the church, the car seat carrier hooked into the crook of my arm, bumping against my thigh as I walked down the stairs into the basement. I stopped at the end of the hallway, my shoes planted on the linoleum like feet in wet concrete. From a room around the corner I heard voices – women laughing and talking, kids chasing each other, a baby fussing, the scrape of metal folding chairs against the floor. I didn’t want to go in. I didn’t want to enter this room full of strangers, all women who knew each other, all women who were already friends.
The chairs were arranged in a circle. Boxes of crackers, bottles of juice and a plate of homemade brownies were spread out on a long table against the wall. I set the car seat carrier on the floor, hung my jacket on the back of the metal chair, sat down and fidgeted with Noah’s blanket, tucking it around his legs and arms, pretending to be preoccupied as the women chatted in couples and groups around the room.
“Hi, I’m Karla. Is this your first time at the Mom’s Club?” I glanced up to see a woman with long brown hair and blue eyes standing in front of me, her hand extended. I stood up, smiling, and took her hand.
: :
Finding the Mom's Club saved me when I first moved to Nebraska 10 years ago. I simply don't know what would have happened had I not called the hospital that day and discovered that community of women, many of whom are still my dear friends today.
In a lot of ways I feel similarly about this online community here, too. Nothing has surprised me more about blogging than the fact that real friendships can and do form across cyberspace. I used to roll my eyes when someone mentioned that social media could represent real life in any way - I'm so glad I was proved wrong.

By now you may have heard about the (in) RL meet-ups taking place nationwide (and worldwide!) on April 28. If you haven't, please do pop over here to read more about it.
In short, these meet-ups offer the opportunity for women to connect in real life, right where they are -- to come together to enjoy community (and snacks, of course). Deidra, Erin and I are hosting a meet-up right here in Lincoln, but even if you're not in Nebraska, there are tons of meet-ups happening in every state, so you are sure to find one near you.
I encourage you to register - (just click on the button below; it's only $10 and you get a super-cute t-shirt!). I promise it's going to be a lot of fun, and if you can make it to the Lincoln meet-up, I would love to meet you in real life! Whoot!

{While you're at it, stop by The Diaper Diaries tomorrow - Jill's writing about (in) RL over there!}

Southern Gal  – (March 14, 2012 at 6:01 AM)  

I love that picture.  It speaks volumes.

kendalprivette –   – (March 14, 2012 at 6:26 AM)  

i get to go to amy sullivan's house!!!!! i am so excited. my friend, karrie, who also blogs is going with me. i can't wait to read everyone's posts afterwards.

Harriett –   – (March 14, 2012 at 6:48 AM)  

What a great testimony to the power of friendship -- and especially to those made in unconventional ways.

There are some beautiful women in that photo -- radiant with something.... what could that be? I think I know.

btw: My heart ached for you on 9/11 --- I was in a room full of students when that happened, and I felt terribly alone too -- how does one not feel alone against such large hate?

Gaby  – (March 14, 2012 at 7:05 AM)  

I'm going to one in April. So excited!

Michelle DeRusha  – (March 14, 2012 at 8:01 AM)  

Oh, how fun, how fun! I want to meet you, Amy and Karrie in person, too! Can't wait to read the posts about the meet-up!

Mary Bonner  – (March 14, 2012 at 8:26 AM)  

I agree with Southern Gal...I love that picture too!  That was an incredible weekend for me.  When I would say I wasn't a "real" writer, you would get on me and tell me that I was.  I am SO SO SO happy we connected in RL that weekend.

I am not attending an inRL meet-up, I wish I was.  You guys will have so much fun!

I love this post.  I have felt that alone feeling you describe recently as last December.  I have to fight the sinking feeling and find ways to deal with you.  So glad you found your Moms group.

Megan Willome  – (March 14, 2012 at 8:41 AM)  

You are one of my online treasures. I hope I get to give you a hug some day. 

P.S. I got my best friend hooked on your blog! And she is very, very picky. Your style & tone minister to her in a way I never have been able to.

JosephPote –   – (March 14, 2012 at 9:50 AM)  

Thank you, Michelle, for that beautiful story of community...of our common need...and of our uncommon means of meeting each others needs thru Christian fellowship.

I appreciate you...and count you a dear friend!

Shelly Miller  – (March 14, 2012 at 9:55 AM)  

Michelle, I started a mom's group at the church where my husband pastored in Phoenix. My first was only four months old but there were so many of us isolated and lonely that we needed to band together. We ended up with more than 100 moms and many of us are still connected in some way or another. That time was foundational growth for all of us. Looking forward to my RL meetup in Charleston, I'm needing that same kind of support in this new season.

Michelle DeRusha  – (March 14, 2012 at 10:30 AM)  

Oh my word, that makes me happy, Megan (both about your friend and the fact that you want to hug me in person -- me, too, girl, me too! It WILL happen some day!).

Michelle DeRusha  – (March 14, 2012 at 10:32 AM)  

I am SO glad to have "met" you online, Joe -- you are a wonderful encourager and a great guy!

Glenda Childers –   – (March 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM)  

What a great reminder of how much we need each other. And what a treat to see you (looking adorable) with several of my blogging friends. (also adorable)


Ann Kroeker  – (March 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM)  

Look! All that beauty at one table, all that joy!

Jamie @ Six Bricks High  – (March 14, 2012 at 4:48 PM)  

I'm planning on hosting/attending a meet-up in my town, but you've got me wishing I lived in Nebraska.  I'd like to go to your meet-up :)

Michelle DeRusha  – (March 14, 2012 at 8:42 PM)  

What a great idea, to start a mom's group at your church -- you were a lifesaver to so many, Shelly! I tell you, the Mom's Club here saved my life. I didn't even believe in God then (or was a huge skeptic, at best), so I didn't have any faith or spiritual life at all to buoy me. Ironically, though, the church that the mom's clubs meetings were held at became the church that we later joined and that I love so much today. Weird how that worked, isn't it?

Michelle DeRusha  – (March 14, 2012 at 8:43 PM)  

I'm glad you are getting together with an (in) RL group in your town, Jamie - but selfishly I wish you were coming to the Nebraska meet-up so I could give you a hug and chat with you in person!

Rupzip –   – (March 15, 2012 at 12:55 AM)  

Wow. I know those people!

Deidra  – (March 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM)  

I was living in CT when my kids were young. I'd had some devastating experiences with being "unfriended" by the wives of the other ministers in our church, and I was terribly sad and lonely. Then, I got connected with a group of women through Moms In Touch. "Saved" is the right word. They saved me. And then I met other women outside of the church and we became very, very close. We are still friends, although scattered across the country now.

I never thought I could have even more friendships like that. Then, one snowy night, I walked into a coffee shop here in Lincoln, and the rest is history...

ELM @ A Family Treehouse  – (March 21, 2012 at 3:34 PM)  

OH! I remember the first time I walked down that linoleum hallway. Would "they" MAKE me put my baby in the nursery they spoke of? He was just over a year then, I was just over half way through my second pregnancy and was thrilled it turned out so well. A life line to the world... and great little playgroups for moms - oh, wait, I mean for the kids!! :)

Post a Comment

All material and photographs copyrighted Michelle DeRusha 2012

  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP