Internet Friends

21 10 2006

I will admit that I don’t much like to tell people I have internet friends. That sort of thing usually illicits the odd glance and, sometimes, a “how do you know they are who they say they are?” type conversation. Still, it’s because of people I’ve met online that I am who I am, especially as a mother. For over five years now, in various incarnations, I have known some amazing women through first a health website and then an attachment parenting board. It’s strange, but I think in many ways they know me better than most people I know in my 3D life. It’s so much easier for me to spill my guts when I can type it out and organize my thoughts and when I know no one will see me cry.

Over the years, I’ve met a few of these women when they came into town to visit, and it was a lot of fun but it lasted only a few hours at most and only one at a time. However, on my trip to visit my dad, four moms drove in and we spent the next 48 hours together (mostly). And? It was a blast!

Sunday night they arrived and I headed over to the hotel where they had gotten two adjoining rooms and where we let the 10 children run wild. They painted, played, jumped on the beds, make Play Doh “soup” (ick!), nursed, giggled and generally had a ton of fun. We chatted, gave safety orders to the kids, nursed, and enjoyed each other’s company in person for the first time (mostly, I had met Shannon before).

As I pulled up, I saw Anna unloading the van. M asked me who I waved at, so I told her Anna, and then had to specify that it wasn’t her friend Anna that moved away to which M replied, “Awww! I want to see the REAL Anna!” I helped Pretend Anna with some bags and we went up to meet the others. Shellee had driven in with Anna and Melissa and Shannon had already arrived.

The strangest thing was that it wasn’t strange at all. Anna made some comment to me about being a new friend and I said, “Well, we are hardly new friends, are we?” After all, we’ve known each other for four years now. I felt so comfortable with these women that I had virtually no social awkwardness with them. Big deal for me! I think I even answered the door mostly topless when they were coming back from the swimming pool on Monday without thinking twice (also, I figured I’d seen so many boobs what with all the nurslings around that who really cared? And my stomach has even been published in newspapers so that’s not really a secret anymore. Heh.) The neatest part was getting to know the mannerisms and voices of the faces I’ve known for years. And, of course, it was great seeing al the kids play together and watching them automatically know to come to one of us if their mommy was out of the room for a minute.

We spent Monday morning at a Stinky disgusting McDonald’s indoor playplace because it was raining steadily outside. In the afternoon, we went back to the hotel (with some makeshift water slings Anna picked up on the way back!) and spent the afternoon in the pool. That evening we ordered pizza in before I headed home with my kids and Shannon left for her own warm bed.

Tuesday, after Melissa had gone home, the rest of us went to the zoo with my dad and ended up spending a whopping six hours there. Whew! That evening we (minus my dad) sat in the hotel watching Gilmore Girls (well, reading it via closed captioning b/c the kids were not what one would call quiet) before Anna and Shellee hit the road for an early start. I sat with the kids in the sitting area for awhile while they finished packing up until Shellee came out and played Simon Says and told an awesome story. We said a sad goodbye and all headed back home.

The funny thing is that it just felt normal. It felt like I was hanging out with my regular playgroup, and even though the goodbye was sad, it was surreal as well, and part of me imagined I’d see them again when I got back home. Still, I imagine that someday I will see them again because this was far from the end of a friendship.

Clicky on the picture below to see the entire set (some pictures I swiped from the other ladies).

group photo #2

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