Friday, December 05, 2008

Yesterday, my friend Melissa asked me if I was living at my current address*. Of course, she asked me via instant message, and we ended up chatting for a bit. She later made a joke that we had only met 3 times -- and I chuckled to myself, and thought that was crazy. But on second thought, she was right. I have spent a collective total of about 10 hours with someone I consider a close friend. A girlfriend. And I know her pretty much only from the internets.

To explain our personal connection is a bit complicated. Our husbands and I are friends via a certain mutual friend. Adam had met both Jay and me years before Melissa, and for some bizarre reason (our charm? wits? love of beer?) Adam kept in touch with us even though he was many miles away from our mutual acquaintance, and many months from our first meeting. We were thrilled when he and Melissa met and married because Adam was so happy. We hoped she was truly the perfect person for him because he was someone we really cared about. Luckily, we all chatted via instant messenger soon after, and it was clear that Adam had met his match. In a good way.

Melissa and I have basically gotten to know each other via our blogs. Caroline is OK drew her as a reader early on, and then Melissa's own first pregnancy spurred her on to create the Baby Blizzard Blog. I'm not the #1 poster on my blog, but I am an active contributor/editor. Despite "knowing each other" (in the most appropriate way) for quite a while, the first time Melissa and I actually met was during the weekend of Banta's (the mutual friend's) wedding. And the very pregnant Melissa was kind enough to watch Caroline while Jay and I participated in the wedding ceremony. It takes some gumption to harness a frightened, angry 16-month old baby while you're 6-months pregnant. And then take her outside to scream and wait for her parents for up to 30 minutes. Yikes. We've been girlfriends since.

And since that day in 2005, I've gasped as I've watched the Blizzard boy... then BOYS... then FAMILY grow. I've been in awe of their collective ability (particularly Melissa's) to negotiate their many moves in addition to Adam's recent deployment to the Middle East. The Lerman-Zukowskis were fortunate to meet up with the Blizzards a couple of times in Georgia over the last year, and it was absolutely refreshing to realize that even though you now know people primarily via a computer, you truly can be friends. As far as us ladies go, I really AM inside Melissa's house every day. And she is in mine. And that... really ... is weird. Especially for someone who has long cherished visits, greeting cards, cakes, and lunch dates. But somehow, it's almost more personal and real despite being completely virtual. (Wow, I feel like I should be saying this in a VW bus while listening to The Dead.) Melissa is my girl. And even though she hasn't said it, I'm hers.

Point is, I'm pretty sure that the medium facilitating conversation is not quite as important anymore. It's the message and the vibe. And although Melissa has never sat on my couch to laugh at The Office with me - she has. And we've exchanged advice, thoughts, and friendship.

And that, as we say on this blog, is OK.

*To be fair, I (and, collectively, we Lerman-Zukowskis) have lived at this address longer than we've lived anywhere else


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