It is time, once again, for my annual Internet moms’ reunion. This year, we’re meeting in Portland, Maine, hosted by The Maine Mom (who is a native Mainer). I can’t wait to see this vibrant city in all its autumnal glory. More than that, I can’t wait to see my friends and spend the entire weekend chatting about politics, sex, religion and everything — and everyone — else under the sun.
Just in case you never read about these moms in my cast of characters, let me tell about them. In November 1995, many women found themselves pregnant and due with a child in August 1996. At that time, in the infancy of the Internet, the most widely read “support group” was the “miscellaneous.kids.pregnancy” newsgroup on the Usenet. Traffic was getting heavy with all these women in various stages of pregnancy, so a man, named Preston (don’t remember his last name), created a Listserv mailing list for his wife and her peers who were due in March 1996 or thereabouts. The idea caught on like wildfire, and Preston was asked to set up Listservs for subsequent months. Hence the August96 moms’ list was born. At the peak of our popularity, we had over 200 members across the globe. Our particular group got a lot of press, coverage on CNBC and AP. We’ve been friends for almost 11 years, having moved from one Web host to another. We share the triumphs, tragedies, and quotidian details of our lives with each other.
About 8 years ago, after I had been traveling extensively and meeting lots of moms, the group decided to hold a reunion on the West Coast. The children were 2 years old. It was mass chaos, but, we had a terrific time. The following year we met on the East Coast, still with children. The year after that we met in the middle of the country. By then, we all had gotten smart and needed the time away from our kids. So it went, alternating locations around the country, meeting every Columbus Day weekend for a little female bonding.
Attendance this year will be lower than it has been, but those who are coming are the true diehards, the wouldn’t-miss-it-for-the-world women. We’ll forgive those who couldn’t afford the trip this year, and we’ll miss them. But, we might talk about them, too! As The Maine Mom’s DH put it so well, it’s our annual parenting conference … and it’s cheaper than therapy!