The Community that is urbanMamas
I moved to Portland in the Autumn of 2003. At the time, I had a three year-old, and I was 7 months pregnant. Our family made wonderful fast friends in those first few months, but - postpartum - I knew I needed something more. That need took me to the yahoo-group, which took me to Hau, Sarah, and Shetha. With this longing for community and support (and cherishing these qualities as societal ideals), we started urbanMamas.
Our families have grown, and so has our community. I hear many stories from mamas, whom I may not even know, who have made their closest friends through playgroups or playdates posted on urbanMamas. There is one amazing success story I will never forget: a mama connecting with several families in order to weave a complex schedule of a nanny share at her house, all using urbanMamas as the community that connects.
Now, I find myself in Memphis, TN. A Facebook plea led to several introductions to friends in Memphis, to friends of friends. Tonight, I visited a friend of an urbanMama who I know personally. She, her partner, and their four children welcomed me into their home, a complete stranger! They were all so doting and loving. They will be host-family to my little toddler while I work in the next couple of days; and I feel completely comfortable leaving him there, even if we just met. Just a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Tucson, dropping off the little one at a former PDX-dwelling urbanMama, who adopted our boy for a long afternoon into nighttime.
It is testament of the power of this community. I feel so fortunate to be a part of it, and I feel so fortunate that our community reaches so far beyond Portland. I will be honest: it exhausts me to continue to invest in the urbanMamas community. It takes so much out of me. On the other hand: it really is so rewarding to be the recipient of so much support from mamas far and wide, when I really do need it.
To everyone in my expanded urbanMamas community (yes, that means YOU), to those who have respectfully weighed in on my personal dilemmas in a non-judgmental way, to those of you who listen even if you do not share my circumstance, and especially to everyone who has watched RJ in the past 1.5 years, thank you.
And, just a little plug: for those of you who want to continue connecting on Facebook, hit us up on our new "PDX urbanMamas" page. ("UrbanMamas PDX", the person, will be going defunct soon.)