It would be an arduous task to explain the love of an asshat but I will try. Beverly once asked me, "what is an asshat?" and I chuckled at the notion of explaining it. In spring 2006, I received an email from a woman via APC named Nicole who was starting the adoption process. We immediately bonded though we live 7 hours away. When she and her husband came to NYC, we got together for dinner and it flew from there. There have been weeks where we speak daily which included her trip to Vietnam to bring her gorgeous son home. When she took her students to New Orleans for Katrina rebuilding she invited me to join her and we spent a week sleeping side by side making a difference and dreaming out loud about the day when we'd become parents. When she brought her son home, I flew up and had a great weekend with the entire family. She is the closest thing to a sister I've ever had and I love her dearly. Next came Lisa, my secret pal who would be accidentally revealed shortly into the process. For 18 months, she sent me the most beautiful gifts every month and even though I knew the limit was supposed to be $10, I can't imagine that she ever followed the rules. Then again, smart women usually don't. Our friendship grew with each email and though we came from very different walks of life, the bond developed. It was only right before the exchange ended that I revealed to her that I had known all along but didn't want to ruin it for her. She has taught me about what it means to be brave and have courage more than most people I know. There is something amazingly special about her that you don't know at first glance (or email) but it's there. She is beautiful inside and out. I spent this past weekend at her home where she hosted several families, their children and coordinated a "field trip" with several others. A true lady, a great hostess and someone I am proud to call friend. Last but not least comes Michele who I also met through our mutual DTC group. She introduced me to the 6 degrees of separation of a secret pal. Lisa bought for me, Michele bought for Lisa and when I confided in Michele that I wanted to "anonymously" give a little back to Lisa for all her generosity she arranged for me to be HER secret pal December of 2006. She and her husband have a beautiful little boy from Vietnam who has a twinkle in his eye he gets from his momma. She is uber-organized and looks like she's been a mother forever. She makes it look doable and even easy at times. We spent time last year together while I was on a business trip and spent this past weekend together. She is a great person and a wonderful friend to many. While I don't get to talk to her that often (she's super-mom remember?) she is a great person who I am honored to have in my life. In 2006 a yahoo group came together of women who were not quite what you'd call conventional. The original group fell apart but we followed each other out the door to a place we affectionately call "the lounge". It's one of those by invitation only places and is filled with some great women. After a certain number of posts, you achieve what is affectionately known as "asshat" status. It's a sorority of sorts filled with common thread (even a few red ones) and the joys and sorrows that come with growing as a group. We've shared in each other's happiness and struggles and while there are several women I am proud to call friend, these three (okay Kris too) stick out. They defy the rules, they believe in fair play and look out for one another. Tonight I came home to a big box from Pottery Barn Kids only to learn that these much loved women together purchased ALL of Emme's bedding. Sometimes it's tough being the single gal in a world of married couples but they never make me feel uncomfortable, inferior or alone. The same three who collectively live 20 hours away are all coming here this weekend to celebrate Emme at my non-surprise shower. Words alone cannot thank them enough for their love and their friendship, which is the greatest gift of all.