Just checking in while Frankie naps and I'm putting off getting work done...
One of the hardest things about moving back to Chicago was leaving the little community Frank and I had formed in Virginia. We had/have such good friends there. One thing that made it a little easier was that several of our friends also moved away from the area around the same time we did. But when we first moved back here, despite having my family in the area, we felt a real lack of community in friends at a similar life stage as us.
In my typical overly friendly way (some of you guys might remember how I used to make friends by going up to talk to strangers after Mass... scratch that, I still make friends that way!), I set about trying to correct that lack when we moved here. It took time—more time than I liked. Frank heard me complain incessantly, when we found out I was pregnant, that we didn't know a single other young married couple expecting a baby in Chicago (and we didn't!). I was worried we would have to do this whole young-parenting gig all by ourselves.
But here we are, a year later, and we have been beyond fortunate to find a lot of other young married couples and new or expecting parents in Chicago. Most are close to us in age, and some of them are even younger than us! It's such a great feeling to get together for our little (silly named) "lactation parties" or cook-outs or movie nights or husbands' softball games. Having a community of young couples who share core values and fun interests has been a total godsend for us, and it just keeps getting better as more and more of our friends get married and have kids. It is so good to feel not alone in this crazy adventure—to have friends who are also dealing with marriage and pregnancy and being first-time parents while trying to establish their careers, pay off student loans, stick to budgets, make difficult decisions about finances and health care and childcare and going back to work, and generally being adults—really, friends who see marriage as a cornerstone rather than a capstone. (And for the record, I am a big believer in marriage as a cornerstone!)
I've also come to realize that community doesn't have to be confined to geography. Last week, dear friends of ours who live in San Diego asked us to be godparents to their beautiful little baby. This is such an honor, especially since the role of godparents or "padrinos" is a huge deal in Cuban culture! Even though we won't be able to be present at the baptism, we cherish this special bond with these friends who feel more like family, and I'm grateful that our community of mutual support extends across the country. The blogging community also makes me feel that way, which is why I love it.
There isn't really a deeper point to this post. I'm just really glad we've reached this point where we have a lot of other friends at our same stage in life. That's all. :)
And of course, some gratuitous baby photos... it wouldn't be a post without them, right?