Over the past four years, I've met hundreds of amazing women through FIT4MOM Baltimore City. HUNDREDS. Who knew that this little idea Lisa Druxmanhad sixteen years ago would impact my life in such a huge way. Do you know what's happened to far too many of those amazing women? They've moved away. And I'm not going to lie-- it's such a hard pill to swallow.
Our Bittersweet Village
We live in Baltimore City. It's not the most glamorous city, but it's where many of us met our spouses or bought our first homes. It's where several of us work(ed) jobs we loved. It's where almost all of us lived when we became mothers and found each other at a FIT4MOM class. As far as life goes, I can't think of a time in your life more special than when you become a mother, and so this place and all the things in it also become special. Some of us remain here for a long while. We send our kids to the same schools and hang out on weekends. We see each other at the grocery store and swim lessons, and it's great! For others, life quickly leads to big changes. Maybe you decide to move closer to family, or maybe you just need a house with a yard that's more than twelve-feet wide. Maybe you or your spouse accept a job offer in another state. The latter happened recently for our Stroller-Strides-member-turned-Run-Club-coach, Jess Bonsall.
Jess (smiling front and center in that morning run selfie) sent me a super sweet email early last month that I asked her if I could share. While she said I could, I didn't share it right away because when people tell me about a move, I try to put it out of my mind until it nears reality. Since Jess shared her news widely today, I guess that reality is upon us. She wrote to me...
"With the potential for another move at our doorstep, I find myself thinking about Baltimore and the things we will miss here. There’s Patterson Park – our big, beautiful outdoor space that we’ve grown to love. There’s the art culture all over the city – the AVAM, the Walters, the beautiful murals gracing city facades. There’s the people – caring, tough, friendly, and diverse. And with the people is a little niche occupied by the women I’ve met through Fit4Mom. These women have watched my son grow from a tiny bundle to a walking, babbling little boy. They’ve been the friendly faces on days when the 3am baby wake-up call had me hanging on by a thread. They’ve been the listeners and advice givers when motherhood brought us another challenge to overcome. They’ve been the strong voice pushing me to work harder and try new things when my mind was ready to throw in the towel. They give tickles to babies and hugs to moms freely and without asking. They gave us a safe space without judgment to be us, to make friends, to help a new mom find balance and redefine what ‘normal’ means in her life. This group of women is what I will miss most about Baltimore. Thank you, Fit4Mom, and thank you Rachel for being all that you are."
Oh bittersweet reality. There you are, and I wouldn't change you for the world. FIT4MOM isn't just about a workout. It's so much more. Thank you, Jess, for accepting the challenges, the hugs, and the tickles. Thank you for being open to friendly faces after tough nights and for being a friendly face to so many others. Thank you for your infinite warmth and for holding our Run Club to the Badass Lady Gang standard. You've added so much value to Our Village in these past thirteen months, and we'll miss you dearly!
If you're a mama making a pitstop or a forever home out of Baltimore, we've always got room for you in Our Village! Email me to find out more at firstname.lastname@example.org.