March 13, 2014

Imaginary Friends

Yesterday, I went to Chicago to meet up with two ladies whom I'd simultaneously never met and knew everything about. My "imaginary friends", if you will.

You see, when C-man was about 6 months old, I'd found a forum of like-minded mothers who weren't interested in letting their babies cry unconsoled in their cribs by themselves, supported compassion over intimidation, and were low and sleep and high on support of breastfeeding. Since then, the forum went away, but a Facebook group replaced it. It did more than replace it, really, because it became about each other living our lives and not just our problems or concerns about our children.

Almost 9 years later, these women are my friends. I have been with them through highs and lows, marital problems, vacations, children's growth spurts, school selections, Cub Scout events, illnesses, celebrations, children's ADD diagnoses, and anything and everything in between this thing called life.

While I joke about them being imaginary friends, they are real in every way except being in front of my face each day. More valuable even, in some respects, when I compare it to so many of my "close friends" who have moved away or moved on to other things in life and just found it too much effort to keep in touch unless I chose to reach out constantly. "Friends" whom I'd invested so much time in, so much heart in, who could disappointingly just move on without what seemed like a second thought.

And so it was a bit surreal, meeting these women for the very first time and feeling like they've been close to my heart for years. A bit unbelievable, when I walked into the Shedd Aquarium and saw them standing in the atrium with their children and my first thought was, "Hey, my friends are already here!" When I met their children, and already had a million questions to ask each of them because I knew so many of their likes and dislikes.

The most incredible to me of all was that I thought both of them were more beautiful than I'd ever seen in pictures. The smiles and laugh lines and laughs and warmth... it was so incredibly endearing, there was no way to describe it but long-term friendship.

So call them imaginary if you will. Call me crazy for having "not real" friends. Whatever. Because it was as real as I've ever had. And I'm incredibly thankful for the experience.


Mary Z said...

How fabulous!

And we really ARE real!

l'empress said...

Don't ever let anyone tell you that online friends can't be real.

Shelley said...

Love. Tears.