Monday, August 13, 2018

the magic of the internet

There are a lot of really bad things on the internet. There's always something in the news about what a dark place it can be. Not all things are bad about it though.

About six and a half years ago I joined a popular online message board for expectant moms. I hoped to connect with other women who were experiencing this stage of life. Within the bigger group formed smaller groups--one of which was called the "team green" moms because they elected not to find out the sex of their children before their birth. Since we were doing the same thing, I quickly connected with the other moms in that group.

We started our own private group where we discussed anything and everything. Eventually, we felt comfortable enough to add one another on Facebook so we could keep up with each other's lives and growing families in real time. We would chat, commiserate about certain challenges with our similarly-aged children, and cheer each other on.

That's how I 'met' Ali. I've talked about her and Ethan before, especially when Ethan needed lots of prayers leading up to, during, and after his surgeries. When we first started talking, Ali was living on a medical ship off the coast of Africa. With Ethan's diagnosis, she ultimately landed in New Jersey--still far away from Ohio. Over the past 6.5 years, we have kept up with one another thanks to social media and the internet.

Then the magic happened.

We had just put the kids to bed and I grabbed my phone to do some laps around the neighborhood in an effort to hit my step goal that day. As I was browsing Instagram, I watched Ali's stories about a hotel they were staying at and a park they were exploring. The park looked familiar but when I asked her about her hotel and she told me where she was.... she was 20 minutes away. The following ensued:
..as well as talk about nighties doubling as dresses and whether a bra would be required. I hightailed it back home to change and tell Jon my change of plans for the evening then headed out to get Ali.

We ended up at a local restaurant where we shared onion rings, drinks and about 3 hours of amazing conversation. Finally getting to physically meet someone you already know pretty intimately is such a crazy experience. I felt like we were old besties and we couldn't help but laugh when we asked one another questions about things we had never personally discussed but knew about from what we shared on Facebook. 
 The next morning Ali and her family headed to their next destination so we didn't get to see each other again, but I'm confident the opportunity will present itself. In the meantime, I was so grateful to hug someone who went from a rando stranger on the internet to a really great friend.

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