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Diapers to Dorm Rooms

Eighteen years later the PEPS group that rescued me from complete social isolation became a lifelong group of friends.

17 Year Old Group

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- Louisa T, PEPS mom

Parents who join PEPS are typically seeking support during the newborn months. They're getting very little sleep and are dealing with colicky babies and feeding issues. The last thing on their mind is what life will be like when this little person grows up.

PEPS mom Louisa Turner remembers moving to Seattle when her baby was one week old. She didn't know anyone in Seattle and says her PEPS group "rescued me from complete social isolation."

Fast forward almost 18 years...this particular PEPS group has been together since they joined with their newborns in 1992, supporting each other throughout their kids' entire childhoods and forming connections that have lasted a lifetime.

So, what's the secret to their success? According to Sondra Kornblatt and Louisa Turner (2 of the moms in the original group) it's all about eating. As Louisa says, "We discovered the secret to our longevity is always having something to eat." Once PEPS formally ended, their group continued to get together at The Playroom at Greenlake, then progressed to picnics at playgrounds, and eventually evolved to their current situation which is a dinner club of sorts. As Sondra explains, "We get together every other week and take turns providing the dinner for the whole group." (Which typically consists of the moms and dads, the original PEPS kids, and their siblings.)

Because their PEPS kids are all the same age (give or take a few months), the parenting issues have changed over the years, but "Everyone's always in the same boat," says Louisa, "We always come away realizing, that's not just my's how it is for everyone."

The group dynamic is unique in that their get-togethers have always typically taken place in the evenings & weekends (since they were all working) and almost always involved the dads. Most of them had little to no family in Seattle so their PEPS group became "like family". In fact, the kids know each other better than they know some of their own cousins. Over the years the group has vacationed together, celebrated holidays, and even rallied around Sondra's family when she unexpectedly lost her husband 2 years ago.

If the parents thought their group might scale back when the kids became teens with busy lives, the kids weren't having any of it - and told their parents they wanted to keep the group dinners just the way they were! The close-knit group of teens span two grades (due to summer birthdays) and 3 different high schools but rely on each other for support just as their parents do.

Louisa's daughter Allie, now a 17 year-old high school senior, describes her PEPS friends as her "wolf pack". Allie thinks of the other kids as "family" and says she "always knows she has someone to talk to and a shoulder to lean on." One of her favorite memories is a Labor Day camping trip when they all stayed up singing songs until midnight. They currently compare notes on life in high school and sometimes offer each other advice. As Sondra says, "the kids feel connected and this group gives them a sense of community."

Now that a few of the original kids are heading off to college next fall, they're not sure what direction the group will take except that they'll continue to come together, because that's what you do with family!

DID YOU KNOW? Louisa's PEPS group (1992) was the first ever evening group with couples attending.

Written by Angie Ballas, Red Tricycle

About the Author

Angie Ballas

Angie Ballas is currently a stay at home mom to two girls - ages four and 11 months. She's also a freelance writer for Red Tricycle, "Pint-Sized News For Savvy Grown-Ups". Subcsribe to Red Tricycle's free e-newsletters to stay updated on kid-friendly events and products in the Seattle area.

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