I got into blogging and reading blogs right around the time we moved to Cleveland a little over 4 years ago. I had read some before that, but moving to a new town prompted me to search out local blogs to see what other people were doing in the area. Somewhere in that timeframe is when I stumbled on Pauline’s blog. Her youngest was the same age as my oldest and she had two older kids. She knew the parenting ropes and I loved reading her stories. She was born in Poland and I’m 1/2 Polish so reading about some of her family traditions was both familiar and fascinating.
I think the first time we met was at the Blog It Forward event at the Greenhouse Tavern to raise money for a blogger in need. So it was fitting last night when a group of local bloggers and social media friends gathered at the Greenhouse to wish Pauline “powodzenia” (good luck) as her family moves back to her hometown of Chicago.
Over the last 4 years, what I found on the screen has translated into a real-life friendship. Our kids have had playdates, we’ve attended her famous Halloween parties, my daughter had her first crush on Pauline’s sweet Jay, and we’ve enjoyed family dinners together. When Madman was born Pauline delivered an amazing dinner of homemade stuffed peppers; I baked a cake for her Lola’s 8th birthday party. Her family recipe for bigos has become a regular dish on our table; and we’ve been lucky enough to be the recipients of Lola’s baked goods. We’ve had girls nights out and in. Madman has all of Jay’s old Thomas train stuff. Our husbands have run road races together. Heck, her husband even became our dentist.
I can never thank her enough for sharing her family secrets with us. For me, Pauline is the expert voice when it comes to family activities in the area. She may not be a native Clevelander but she loves this place like no one else. She introduced us to our favorite river wading spot, complete with a waterfall. Because of her suggestions we enrolled Matilda in dance lessons at the Solon Center for the Arts – a quality program for little kids that doesn’t cost too much and has recitals that are only an hour long. This past summer Matilda enjoyed the heck out of a camp that had been stamped with the OhMommy seal of approval. Pauline introduced me to my trainer and several other local bloggers. She has a knack for finding hidden gems and we’ve never ever been disappointed with any of her suggestions. We have a running list of “OhMommy Approved Sites” and still haven’t gotten to all of them.
Her kids are an absolute delight. Jay is hands-down the sweetest boy I’ve ever met. I’ve witnessed him show kindness to everyone around him; from gently help my toddler climb a play structure to checking in with Matilda to make sure she’s having a good time at a party. If Madman has half of Jay’s compassion at age 10 I will consider myself lucky. Lola is a whirling dervish of ideas and action. She doesn’t mind my 5 year old tagging after her like a lost puppy and in fact seems to love to play with Matilda. I will always remember watching from across the room at a Halloween party when Lola noticed Matilda sitting on the sidelines: Lola walked over and pulled a tootsie roll out of her pocket, handed it to Matilda with a big smile and told her to join the dance floor. As a parent moment like that make your heart smile. Speaking of smiling, Feenie just makes you smile. I swear she’s a mini version of Pauline – her alter ego if you will. Sweet and funny and wise beyond her years. You will never forget and encounter with Feenie. I’m so grateful my kids have been able to play with and learn from the OhMommy kids.
Pauline and the entire OhMommy family: Cleveland will miss you. I can’t thank you enough for all the advice, food and, most of all, friendship you’ve shared with us.
Chicago: you are very lucky to get this lady back in your midst. If you ever have the chance, make sure you meet the entire crew. Your life will be better for it.
I’m not going to say good by, but good luck. Because you aren’t rid of us yet. We can’t wait to visit you in your new old house and read about the adventures you discover in this next chapter of your lives. And you know, our door is always open when you need to smell the sunshine on an Ohio meadow.