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Friday, July 14, 2017

Mommapalooza

where to start?

many years ago my friend's husband was slightly dismayed by his daughter's birthday bash.  he named it "liliapalooza".  her name is lila and lalapalooza was all the rage.  eventually the momma's friend group started a get-together with first born mommas and their eldest.  said husband dubbed us "mommapalooza".  and thus a group name was formed.

the mommapalooza mommas are my peeps.

we all had first born babies in the same year.  we were from different backgrounds...  from you name it- we were different.  but we had two things in common.  we all loved jesus and we all had babies.  and we bonded.

i met with this motley crew every week, at least once, often thrice, and we rocked out the motherhood together.  i dare to say that not a one of us knew what we were doing, but we did it together.  we had differing opinions on almost everything.  there was the one with the trendy baby gear, the one that swore, the one that didn't vaccinate, the one that co-slept, the one that made baby food...  and we did it all together.  i venture to say that there was no judgment.  there were questions a-plenty, but we sort of bowed down to one another as the holy grail and didn't care how they survived.

as for me, i loved every minute.  i was the postpartum sleep deprived momma.  these women let me be all sorts of crazy and they loved me through my journey.  i don't totally know what they thought of my story and the tears/laughter that i brought to the group.  it didn't matter.  the feeling i took home was one of support.

they supported me.  always.

they lifted me up.  they encouraged me.  they dealt with my crazy, new to the motherhood, neurotic, sleep-deprived, suddenly stay-at-home life.

i loved them for it and i loved them for who each of them were.  all very different, but all very beautiful.

shortly before i moved to cali, the band began to logistically break up.  each of us were having second and third babies.  each of us were leaving chi-town (but not all).  and somehow, magically, we stayed connected. the band never emotionally disconnected.

and somehow it began that we were going to gather together, one momma and one eldest child, meet annually to reconnect.  that was the year i moved to cali.

"mommapalooza" was formed.  and once a year, the band gets together. one mom hosts and many moms descend for a weekend of fun.  they bring their eldest and they laugh, cry, giggle, pray, and reminisce about the early stages of motherhood, what we struggle with now, and everything in between.

it is mommapalooza weekend.  THIS momma is not there (and hasn't been in quite some time).  but as i look at their Facebook pages and receive their messages, my heart is full.  while i would always like to be there, i know that these women are MY WOMEN.  they have my back ALWAYS.  they KNOW me.  they get my flaws and they celebrate my few-but-far-between strengths.  if they were my neighbor, they would bring me a meal.  they would watch my babies.  from a distance (albeit social media) they celebrate my successes.

they watched me become ME.

they prayed for me to become ME.

they have descended on iowa this weekend and as i watch them, my heart aches and soars.  i ache because i wish with all of my being to be there with my e and do the weekend together.  i soar because i know what it means to each of them to get to do this.  they will wrestle with self, they will celebrate, they will lean in, they will laugh over the past, they will pray for the kiddos and each other, and they will leave rejuvenated.  they will take with them morsels that they will ponder for weeks to come.

i wish i was there.

but even in my absence, i celebrate.  each of them is amazing.  each women is a momma i am proud to call friend.  years can divide and separate, but nothing can erase the really hard/honest/amazing that we walked through TOGETHER.  and for that i am thankful.

i look at this snap daily and thank God for what He gave me when i needed it most... relationships that were real, authentic, life-giving, self-growing and motherhood-building.

happy mommapalooza 2017!  every momma needs THIS in their lives and i am so thankful for you!  even in my absence, i feel your love, support and am forever grateful for helping me when i needed you most.