The internet used to be a kind of scary place to meet people. I remember going to some bulletin board meetups with my friend Kim, back in the early 90’s, she met her boyfriend online and it was kind of like the weirdest thing ever. You want to date someone you’ve never met?
Now, in 2014, it’s a fairly commonplace occurence – there are a ton of online dating sites and it’s no longer a big deal if you met your significant other on the interwebs.
But what about friends? I know a LOT of women that have made online friendships over the years – we are curious about things we are interested in, we especially like making connections with other people interested in the same things. I’ve made some of the most lasting and truest friendships of my lifetime from the internet. I’ve met a ton of photographers from being involved in online photography forums. Some of them I talk to everyday, and they are most often than not my traveling companions to new places.
But it’s some online friendships that I made almost 12 years ago that still surprise me daily – surprise me because I never imagined for a minute that we would all still be together, all still like each other, after this long. These friendships, will end up lasting longer than my marriage did. These are my GIRLS.
And how did we meet? Online yes. Through a mutual interest? You could say so. We were all pregnant, and due in the same month. LOL. That was our big connection. We procreated at roughly the same time. But it was enough to bond us together for all these years. It’s crazy too, because we are all so different. Geographically yes, a few in Canada, most in the US. We have conservatives and liberals, breast-feeders and bottle-feeders. (if you’ve ever been on a ‘mommy board’, you’ll know that breast-feeding and circumcision are huge hot button topics) There’s a lot that we all don’t agree about, but now that our hormones have settled down (for the most part) we play pretty nicely with each other. We talk about our kids still, but mostly we talk about our lives, our marriages, our fears about life, funny things that have happened in our day. We’ve moved message boards three times and now are in a private group on Facebook. We talk every, single day. We meet up – sometimes a lot of us, sometimes a few. I’m actually flying to Vegas as I write this, and I’m hoping to be able to meet up with the Vegas girls while I’m there!
We’ve seen divorces, new marriages, and lots and lots of babies. What prompted me to write this is the losses that we’re now experiencing. We are growing older – 12 years older and wiser than our baby-faced selves from ePregnancy message boards. Our babies have buck-teeth and boobs. Our bodies are changing too, I laugh now every time I have to pull back my head to read something better. That’s an OLD PERSON THING.
Our losses are becoming the kind you see later in life. When things don’t seem impossible anymore. Not even improbable. When you’ve started to know PEERS who are passing away, not parents. I lost a friend last year to cancer and it was such a difficult time. A couple of our members have lost the fathers of their children, and it’s such a shocking, horrifying loss. Another just lost a friend. Another’s sister has cancer. We ourselves are having surgeries and health scares. It’s frightening and mind-boggling to even comprehend that we aren’t these invincible twenty-somethings anymore.
The biggest thing that gets us through these changes in our lives is each other. Knowing we have this tough as steel support group that will be there if and when we need them. And I definitely need them. How could I not? They are both the sanest and craziest people I know. We have private jokes and tears and starfishes and Kate faces. We’ve fought bitterly and made it through to acceptance and unconditional love. So consider this a love letter to my scary internet friends. I don’t know what I’d do without you.