I have never met one of my best friends. I share all my secrets with her and she probably knows me better than anyone else on earth. We've spoken on the phone but have never met face to face. It's been planned, but life got in the way. I've got high hopes for 2008.
I post to a message board with a group of women who all had children in September 2005. There are 60 or so of us from all around the world and most of us first connected when we were 5, 6, or 7 weeks pregnant. We chatted about every detail of our pregnancies when people in real life (IRL) couldn't bear to hear another word. We were fascinated with each other's growing bellies, aches/pains and labor symptoms. We cried with and for each other and jumped with excitement over every new birth announcement. We've been there in good times and bad and we know each other better than our closest IRL friends and family.
But not everybody understands this virtual circle of friends. Yes, most of the women could indeed be playing some bizarro video game. Maybe the entire message board is filled with creepy old men pretending to be housewives from Michigan and raise families of ferrets with names like Carolynn, Ryleigh and Zach. I've met enough of them to have faith that they are all real live people on the other side of the keyboard.
I went to visit my family in Wisconsin a year ago. I was only there a short time but I told my folks that I needed to make a quick trek down to Illinois to have lunch with some friends. Where did I meet them, they asked? Well, technically I had never met them. I was meeting them that weekend for the very first time. But the hugs we exchanged were more genuine than those I reserved for my parents. I was just as happy to see them, hold their babies and laugh with them than I was the rest of my family.
The September moms have been my biggest supporters in this ordeal. They were the first to know the news and have been 'with me' every step of the way (as you'll notice by the blinkie under my profile picture). I would have never imagined that 'strangers' would become so important to my life and my sanity.
They deserve a round of applause!