Pennsylvania, Alabama, Italy, Oregon, San Francisco, Tennessee, and Maryland.
Parents who exchange stories and pictures and You Tube videos without ever holding their friends' children. Babies who will grow up knowing about but maybe meeting each other only once or twice -- until they are adults who can travel on their own. Best friends unseen for a decade who keep in touch, still able to talk about everything and laugh about how young we once were.
All only a click away.
God love the Internet. On-line we can share our lives. In blogs we can tell the world about exploits involving little pink dresses, college pranks, professional headaches and dreams, and our travels. We can go on about our children and their exploits as well, laughing at what was not exactly laughable at one point. A virtual gathering whenever and, thanks to wireless, wherever.
I can curl up on my couch with a cup of hot tea and a laptop, sending and receiving as I relax. No longer am I tied to a desktop computer and banished to the upstairs. It's not nearly as cozy as curling up with old-fashioned letter, such as my friend Vanessa still sends, but it's a close second.
Chantel's blog keeps me up-to-date on her lovely Penny, for whom I have a box of presents and will mail someday (just a little more space to fill first). Meanwhile, Jen sends photos of her darling Olivia, and I laugh when I see the undeniable family resemblance to the woman I started kindergarten with. Kirby kept me posted on his travels to China, while Josey sends e-mails guaranteed to earn a replay of WHAT?! Then she laughs and tells me it's the only way to get my attention. I retaliate, of course. That's what friends are for.
We make our own friends, but in truth we are really making new families. Few, if any, of us will have the luxury of raising our families and watching our children play with a gaggle of cousins. Not just on family vacations or when we have the time off to drive an hour or ten but whenever they want because the entire family lives within walking -- or shouting -- distance.
Gavie's growing up in a young neighborhood, with a dozen or so other children. On the Fourth he was able to run and play while we and the other parents sat and watched. It was all very picturesque.
I think, for the first time since moving here, I felt like we were home.