MOMS Club Magic

Dear MOMS Club,

I hope I can write this letter without crying. 

For the past three years, you gals have been my rock.  My touchstone.  My friends.  You’ve been there for me through some of the best and some of the hardest times of my life, and all I can say is … thank you. 

When we first met, I was the new mom of a 6 month old, unsure what to expect in a group of stay-at-home-moms.  I’d had my head buried in my work since we moved to D.C., and I had never taken the time to join a social club or neighborhood group, so I wasn’t really sure what lay ahead.  

What I found was a group of highly educated, motivated, driven moms determined to give their kids the best start in life they could offer them — and to be there for them, every step of the way.  Moms of infants and moms of toddlers, these women were sharp, educated, and up on the latest books and theories of child development.  Not that it was their field — in fact, our backgrounds were astonishingly diverse.  My first friends from the club included an engineer, a lawyer, a USAID worker, a Peace Corps volunteer, a CPA, a teacher, a nurse, a writer, an entrepreneur … amazingly experienced and with-it moms, who all — each and every one — had made the decision to put their careers aside for a while and spend their days at home with their children instead.

We took infants to playdates at parks.  Toddlers to museums.  Everyone to the zoo.  We opened our homes to each other for regular and spontaneous playdates, tearing apart playroom after playroom, but always — always — cleaning up together before we left.

Talk of teething and bedtimes soon gave way to more detailed discussion of theories of child-rearing, of independence, of curiousity, of limiting TV or expanding book collections.  The facades were dropped as we realized that there is no “perfect parent,” and SuperMom exists only in our imaginations.  Sooner or later, everyone forgets the juice box.  We relaxed and opened up to each other, sharing our fears, our worries, and most of all our joys at raising our children and being so lucky as to be able to be there for the big steps and the little ones, every day.  We hit it off pretty quickly. 

When my little one wasn’t crawling on time, we stepped up the playgroups with the crawlers; once he saw what was expected, he put one knee in front of the other and made it happen.  He went on from that to crawling up the steps at 9 months, walking at 11, and shimmying up the redwood playset at 12 months.  He and certain other little preschoolers in our group haven’t stopped climbing and running around since! 

But as much fun as we had together, I didn’t realize what friends I had in these women until I was diagnosed with cancer.  I didn’t know how to talk about it.  I didn’t know what to do next.  I told one friend, and then another, and then I sent out a note to my weekly playgroup with the news and a note that since I would have to start chemotherapy immediately, I would be really susceptible to infection, so would they please let me know if their kids were sick before playdate, and my kids and I would just skip that week?

Their response was overwhelming.  What can we do? they asked.  How can we help?  All I asked for was their friendship and their company.  I was scared to death.

The day before I was to start chemotherapy was July 4.  We’d planned for weeks to host a midweek barbecue at our house, to celebrate our friendships and include the dads in a rare family playdate.  My family helped me keep my promise, cooking, barbecuing, and answering the door while I sat in a chair out back and tried to be the cheery hostess, putting my fears about tomorrow aside.  To my surprise, everyone came.  All 10 families came to our house to visit and play and have one last perfect day before my fight with cancer began.  Everyone brought a treat, too:  every kind of side or dessert from potato salad to rhubarb pie, decorations, forks and napkins, and three kinds of cupcakes.  It was one of the most perfect days I’ve had in my life.  My friend Lisa brought t-shirts.  Pink t-shirts that she’d emblazoned herself with the bold slogan that Canape coined, TEAM WHYMOMMY.  We all put them on and took a picture together.

But that wasn’t the end of their show of support for me in my battle against this deadly cancer.  They got together and made a plan.  Each mom would take a week to be my lifeline; they would offer to do whatever I needed to make it through.  They were so generous with their offers:  errands, grocery store, Target, meals …. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  Because I had family that also came to our rescue, I was able to keep the needs to a minimum:  a playdate here, a yes to a dinner there, and those simple needs were lifesaving this Summer and Fall.  The dinners brought us good nutrition when we were too distracted with determining treatment plans.  The playdates brought me psychic relief and exercise and friendship for my toddler.  Really, they kept me from slipping into a lonesome depression caused by my exhaustion and exasperation that I would have to deal with intense chemotherapy, so soon after an extended period on bed rest for my last pregnancy.  The weekly visits were critical to me during the first 3 months of chemo.

And every time I went to chemo, when I opened the door in the morning, a bright pink bag of goodies awaited me.  Those women had somehow found the time and energy to put together a bag of everything from homemade brownies to scarves to soft socks (my weakness) to bath oils, mints, and trashy magazines; anything they could think of to help me or distract me from the business at hand, and to deliver it to my doorstep early in the morning before I left for chemotherapy.  The bag itself was always covered in inspirational messages, exhortations, recipes, poems, and smiling faces.  An incredible show of support.

Now that I’m on weekly chemo, I told them (who? they do this anonymously, so I just guessed) that they should really feel free to stop.  It’s got to be a drain on them, and I really don’t want that to happen.  But they didn’t stop.  A bag was left on my doorstep again this week. 

And now, after listening to me cry one day, one of the moms helped organize even one more thing for me.  The thing that I need most of all while I try to recover from the chemo, the cancer, and an upper chest and arm that has been unusable for months.  They’re giving me the gift of time.  A mom is taking my oldest for a playdate once a week so that I can go to cancer yoga and try to make this arm work for me again.  So that my son can see friends and get out of the house.  So that we all can relax a little for an hour or two.  They’re going to do this for me for this coming week, and every week from now until my last chemo treatment in December. 

My MOMS Club is made up of incredible women.  All I can say is thank you.  Thank you.  And … I promise to be there for you when you need me.  Just say the word.

Love,
WhyMommy

cuteshoes

Little Bear, Widget, WhyDaddy, and I love our MOMS Club friends!

53 Responses to MOMS Club Magic

  1. Veronica says:

    They are amazing women. I hope every single one of them reads this, along with our comments, because they deserve the recognition.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I am sitting here in tears reading this. It is SO awesome that you have that kind of support system and such a wonderful group of friends.

  3. I really really don’t want to start another comment with Wow…. but WOW!! You are truly blessed with wonderful women that are truly your friends.

  4. Dawn says:

    *sniff*

    I want to be that kind of friend.

  5. They are an unusual gift in life.

  6. Leigh says:

    sniff, sniff . I would like to be that kind of friend too. It seems so strange we derive so much fulfillment from taking care of our loved ones (friends, family – whoever we love) when they are sick or in need for whatever reason. I find myself getting to know you, WhyMommy, through your blog and I wish I could be your friend and do things for you too. You are just so amazing!

  7. Your oldest friend, Adam says:

    Greater love has no one that this, that someone lays down his [her] life for his [her] friends.
    – John 15:13

    Even though I don’t feel like I do much, thank you for allowing us to serve you, to be Christ’s hands and feet, for you and your family.

  8. Mrs. Chicken says:

    This is a beautiful and heartfelt letter. And I firmly believe that we get from others what we put out there in the world. Your love and compassion is just coming back to you, that’s all.

  9. Matt says:

    I started to write something about how great your friends are (and they definitely are!), but Mrs, Chicken’s comment made me stop and think – and she’s right.

    But I think it’s broader than that – It is not surprising that a person who has displayed the inner strength, the depth of compassion and the personal integrity that you have will also have selected other women as friends who have the same traits. You are all an inspiration to the rest of us.

  10. deb says:

    You are blessed to have such supportive friends and I think your friends are blessed as well to have you in their lives. Your illness has given them a chance to be better people, kinder, more compassionate, more loving. You have helped us all to see more clearly what’s really important in life.

  11. mamma knows says:

    That was a tear jerker, what amazing friends.

  12. Meleah says:

    You are truly blessed. What beautiful souls surround you and care for you. How truly moving and inspiring to hear of such support. God bless you MOM group.

  13. Kat says:

    Only a really good person/friend would have friends that would rally around her like yours does. It’s because you are their friend. It’s obvious that you’re loved. I’m so glad to know you’re surrounded by such supportive, caring, loving friends.

    Hugs!
    Kat

  14. jenn says:

    I sent the link to your blog out to my MOMS Club (we’re about 80 strong) and copied you. I’m so glad you have a great group of friends to help pull you through! My MOMS Club has been wonderful too, I don’t know what I’d do without them. (and I hope that they come here and read your story and about IBC.)

  15. mayberry says:

    That sure made ME cry. I tear up thinking about the friend who kept my daughter overnight when my son was born — so I can only imagine the depth of gratitude you have for these amazing women.

  16. edj says:

    wow…what an awesome group of women! I’m so thankful you have them in your life.

  17. slackermommy says:

    What an amazing support system you have. A true blessing.

  18. kathie says:

    I am a lurker and haven’t commented here before. Partly because I only found your blog a couple of weeks before you announced your IBC diagnosis. I felt like I had intruded. But I already felt that I knew you – as happens in the land of blogs – and have been following your journey subsequently.
    But today I feel compelled to finally leave you a comment, all the way from Australia.
    I don’t know if you ended up crying while writing your post, but I have to admit that I cried while reading it. What a wonderful group of friends you have. The friendship of women is a wonderful, powerful thing. I am sure though, that it is a testament to the type of friend you yourself are, that you have found yourself surrounded and lifted up by these wonderful women right when you most need them.

  19. whymommy says:

    No, no, no. This is for them. I sent them all the link, to tell them how wonderful they are. Because they are.

    Tell them — they’re listening!

  20. It really is great – especially when there’s always so much to do when you have kids, and live in the DC area. I’m glad you are getting some of the time you need also.

  21. clifford says:

    Wow. If we could all be as lucky. Bravo, M’s C.

  22. Leann I Am says:

    What a great bunch of friends! You really are lucky!!! Friends like that make everything easier, don’t they?

  23. KillerBoob says:

    this may sound cheezy but i mean it from my heart – it’s people and generosity like that that really keep the world feeling like such a wonderful and optimistic place (you know, after watching the dreadful news every night!). That was a beautiful post as well…

  24. ella says:

    Incredible women, all of them.

  25. pSquared says:

    Oh WhyMommy! What an amazingly loving, generous and charismatic group of friends you have! How enlightening it is to read about such love.

    By the way, I’m Stella’s friend. I met you and your beautiful family at the Museum last week. I am so sorry I got so caught up in chasing my girls around that I didn’t say goodbye before I left. Anyway, it was a pleasure to meet you!

    Please know I’ll be watching your progress closely…thinking of you. And if you ever want to squeeze in another fellow Marylander into your life, just let me know. All my best!

  26. Joanna says:

    It makes me more than happy to know you have such great support in your friends – you deserve all the love and help you are getting. They sound wonderful.

  27. Damselfly says:

    What a blessing to be surrounded by such supportive people. I love the pink bag idea.

  28. Ally says:

    What an amazing group of generous women. This was so inspiring to read, WM. Isn’t it nice to know that you are loved by many?

  29. Irene Amoranto says:

    Hello WhyMommy. You have been blessed by God to have the Mom’s Club moms and their families as your friends and your family, too. Praise be to God. May God Bless You and give you healing and peace in your difficult time.
    Jeremiah 33:3 *Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.*
    Jeremiah 29:11 * For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.*
    God is carrying you through all of this. All the support you have is a blessing from Him. May all the glory be unto Him.
    YOU WILL BE OKAY🙂
    Irene

  30. canape says:

    I am in awe of them, and love them so much for all that they do for you and mean to you.

  31. Kim says:

    This is a wonderful letter. You are so lucky to have such amazing friends…but I know that you already know that.🙂

  32. Char says:

    I too belong to MOMS Club here in Grand Rapids, MI and without the group of women that have become my friends life would have been very depressing as a SAHM. It’s amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it….I am so inspired by your letter, I will be passing it onto my chapter as this is what this organization is about. You are so lucky to have a group of women surround you with such love and caring.

  33. ggirl says:

    You’re so lucky to have such a great support group!

  34. Carrie says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful friends with us. You are surrounded by goodness!

  35. Ana says:

    I cried! I couldn’t help it! Sometimes in the most difficult time we learn the depth of peoples soul!

  36. fizzledink says:

    My eyes welled up, I got a lump in my throat, and before the end of this post I was crying, too.

    I’m so thankful that you have such amazing friends. During my husband’s cancer/chemo ordeal, we were blown away by the things our friends and family did to help us through it, so I know how it can make your day when someone brings over a simple dinner. Glad to hear that you have this support system – and the chance to start cancer yoga.

  37. Jenn says:

    That is magic, pure and true.

  38. Lindsey says:

    (crying, too). I’m so thankful that you have these people in your life.

  39. Alison says:

    They are incredible, as are you! (crying) I second the motion that I want to be that friend too and I am thankful for you and your family that you have these wonderful women in your life!
    Keep fighting! Thinking of you!

  40. Kelly says:

    So awesome to have such giving people be a rock for you. Their efforts on your behalf are lovely, and your letter to them, beautiful.

  41. Danielle says:

    I feel blessed just reading about such friendship.

  42. NYfriend says:

    *sniff*🙂

    Inspiring, truly inspiring.

  43. You’re so blessed to have a wonderful support group. Am really so touched with this your posts.

  44. Melanie says:

    I just came over here from Zams (verb) blog.

    What a great post. I want to have friends like that and I want to be a friend like that. You are blessed to have such friends!

  45. Jess says:

    What a wonderful post. I am so glad you have such a great support system.

  46. Brooks says:

    Thank you for your beautiful letter. I think I speak for everyone in MOMS Club when I say, you absolutely deserve our love and support and that the only thing you need to do in return is GET BETTER. Your strength and beauty during this difficult time is a source of inspiration for me. We will do everything we can to help you win your war against IBC because the alternative is completely unacceptable. We are your loyal soldiers.

  47. twithhoney says:

    They are magical!

  48. girl says:

    Wow, that’s all I can muster.

  49. What a breathtakingly beautiful story. I came here via Mountain Momma and I am so glad I did. My thoughts and prayers are with you all! Friendship is the most beautiful thing in the world. 🙂

  50. Vanda says:

    Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing and thanks to your wonderfull Angels

  51. momhuebert says:

    I’m crying because I’m feeling sorry for myself. I don’t have a group of friends who would do those kinds of things for me. But reading the comments I see how many people said they wanted to be a friend like that themselves, and I realized if I can’t have it for myself, I can DO it for others. Thanks for the inspiration.

  52. […] First Accomplishment and applies for a spot before birth.  On the other hand, I’ve found an utterly fantastic group of moms here in the suburbs who appear to be more relaxed about the whole affair, and who […]

  53. […] this cancer carousel with tests and scans, chemo and recovery, writing, advocacy, yoga, friendship, family time, and focusing on helping my (very) little boys grow up into good kids.  But perhaps […]

%d bloggers like this: