I've had sick kids for nearly two weeks now. They've missed school, been to the doctor, received anti-biotics, passed germs back and forth to each other, and briefly to me. They've laid, miserable, on the sofa, and run through the house, too ill to let out but too well to lie down. They've played video games and had entire novels read to them, made cupcakes, and curled up in blankets. And watched lots and lots of one particular tween show that makes me think I should be the perky mom that makes the home fun all the time, but I'm too tired to even really feel guilty about that.
Today was the day I thought they'd be on the mend, and maybe be back to school... at least one of them, but no. One of my favorite times of day is when I pick them up from school, when my mom friends all descend on the school at the same time, and we catch each other in the parking lot to ask how soccer games went or if they're volunteering for the class party and when we can we all have coffee again. It's when smiles are exchanged and hugs are given and waves are passed around and it's a great little boost. Add a latte, and I'm good till the the next day. I don't need a lot. But it's been two weeks since my last trip to the parking lot, and with my husband on the road, the familiar twitch I get when I've been isolated too long is setting in.
And then I was given a gift. On a comment thread on Facebook about, of all things, internet stalking and the dangers of people we don't know being invited into our lives, I met a new friend. It's a small thing, I guess, a friend request on Facebook from someone you don't know, but she came with such a glowing letter of introduction, (yes, in the form of a Facebook comment), that I immediately scrolled through her Timeline. She loves words, and uses them like someone who loves them. And not in that way that people do that's both skillful, but stinging. She uses them kindly, but masterfully. I was impressed. And I felt connected. And tonight, as I tucked my kids into bed (for the fifteenth time because they can't stay there) by myself (because my husband travels as part of his job) and without a dog at my heels (because of some wrong turn the universe took that I can only attribute to a butterfly flapping it's wings in Tokyo at exactly the wrong time, because nothing else really explains my not having a dog)... I felt... not as alone. Because somewhere, in a city I've never visited, another mother, with three kids of her own, who loves words like I do, and with whom I felt some kind of kindred solidarity, was probably tucking her children in also. Probably not for the first time. Or maybe it just takes her one. I don't know. She maybe a far better bedtime enforcer than I am.
What makes it even better, is that I met her through someone on Facebook that I'd met in the same way, by an introduction from a different friend. And I was just discussing with him how we need to a new way to define "meet" because although I'd never stood in a room with him, I'd certainly met him. And indeed, I'd met him, through another friend, who I (don't think) I've met in this outdated corporeal sense, but because he argued with me about the Lost finale on the thread of someone I actually did know, we became friends. (The Lost finale was amazing, by the way).
I know the Internet can be seen as an open door in our homes that needs guarding. And at times, we need some sort of cyber pit bull (have I mentioned, yet, that I still don't have a real one?) sitting at attention, so danger doesn't walk through. At other times, maybe we need a nice, homey wreath hanging under the peep hole so that good people feel welcome. Because there are a lot of good people out there. And sometimes that's how we meet them. It's definitely how I hold close to friends who aren't near enough to see in the school parking lot, or meet for coffee. So tonight, the door's open, and I (and my cyber pit bull) would love to "see" you!