I think to explain The Blathering and what it means to me, unfortunately, I have to start with something sad.
I can’t remember how I first started reading Emily, but she was one of my first blog loves. I scoured her archives at work and I showed Erik the pictures of Asher when he was born and I lurked on her blog for years, and when she had a miscarriage after she was pregnant with Asher, the day I read about it I thought of it all day, wished there was something I could do or say for this stranger in the internet, and we were on a trip in Michigan and Erik caught me crying in the parking lot of the Howell Outlet Mall and all I could say was, “I’m sorry, I know it’s so weird, but Emily in the computer lost a baby and I’m just so sad for her.” And then when she got pregnant with Lucy, I took a deep breath and sent her a “I know you don’t know who I am but I promise you I am not a stalker” email because I was so damn happy for her and I just had to send her a baby present, and she wrote me back and then we became friends in the computer, and we emailed each other back and forth and sympathized about shy boy children and tiny houses and greasy husbands and then we decided to be roommates at Blogher that year. When Blogher sold out in two minutes we decided that we didn’t care about brands that much and that we’d make our own swag, and we decided to start fake Blogher. And then Maggie came along and blessed us with her spreadsheets and the Blathering was born.
I am sure there is a lesson in all this, but for me it’s just a fact. I sent Emily that blanket and now however many years later, my life is forever changed. I walked through Ohare Airport last night on my way to find a bathroom to pump in. There were so many people, so many strangers and noises and lights and loudspeakers all around me, and somehow there was something about that sea of humanity, something about being alone in the midst of that swirling crowd. In that moment the enormity of what my life would be like without friends that know me, without people to connect to, that reality hit me hard, and probably it was the hormones or maybe the distance or all those martinis but I nearly gasped out loud at the thought of my world without the internet. If I didn’t have you all, I just don’t know what I’d do.
I sent that blanket and now there are people all over Texas who have my back. Now I will never enter an art museum without thinking “What one thing would I buy if I could buy anything here?” Now I know that I have help no matter what I need, when my kids have reflux or when they don’t gain weight or when they don’t talk to other kids on the playground. I know who can find a piano bar in Chicago on a moments notice, who can make you laugh and cry over a deep dish pizza and a salad. Who wants more babies and who doesn’t and who isn’t sure. I’m pretty sure I’ll never have to look very far for a good lawyer. I can go on vacation in DC or Seattle or LA and always have a friend on the other end of that flight, and right here close to home I have six amazing ladies who are always quick with a “hell yes” whenever we find a new source for bottomless mimosas.
Sometimes I think maybe we need some kind of Ten Commandments of the Internet, just so we all remember things like 1. Never DM pictures of your wang to anyone on Twitter or 2. Never Blog about Breastfeeding or 3. Your in laws may be legally blind and live in a log cabin and not own a computer and not speak English and they will still find your blog no matter what. Maybe I just I really like it when things are official, and so I can’t help but wish that there was some sort of governing body or a Queen Of It All or even an equation where I could plug in the 16 times I cried this weekend, the 8 times I laughed until my face hurt, the 3 late night talks and the 6 life stories I’ve repeated to my husband and the 84 hugs and the 7 pictures of feet and the 1 pianist named Stan.
Last I heard though, we’re on our own out here in the internet, and so I have taken the responsibility on myself, and I have crunched the numbers and I am here to tell you that as best as I can tell, five years ago we were all strangers, and then three or four years after that we were friends in the computer, and now, at least as far as I’m concerned, we’re all just friends.
And I am so so thankful for that.
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