Have you ever read a book and the characters become so real to you, that you find yourself thinking of them as actual living, breathing people?
I remember one of my friends sharing with me that a few years ago when the state of Indiana was experiencing massive flooding, her first thought was, "Oh no! I need to pray for the Baxter family!"
Then she remembered that the Baxter family was actually from a fiction book series she was currently reading.
In my opinion, that's some dadgum good writing.
Well, to me, social media can be a bit like that.
Except the people on the other end of my computer aren't fictional characters. They're actually real.
The friends I've made through social media are one of the most unexpected pleasures of having a blog. Not only have I discovered an incredibly supportive and encouraging special needs community, but I've found people who express a genuine interest in my family, most especially Lily Bird. There are friends the world over, most of whom I will surely never meet "in real life" who truly want to learn how to support special needs families. They want to help spread awareness. But most importantly to me, they pray for my baby girl.
Let me just share with you a couple of truly special and sweet social media moments.
If memory serves me correctly, Kimberlee, aka javadiva, was one of my first Facebook friends outside of those people I really do know. Now we follow each other on Twitter and Instagram, too.
Back in January, I posted this Instagram picture of Lily Bird taking a walk on Town Lake...
and this was Kimberlee's (javadiva) comment:
Can you imagine reading something like that about your child? From someone you've never met, no less?? Talk about melting a mom's heart. Kimberlee has a BFF in me, for sure, whether we ever meet or not.
Then there's Joanna, aka smilinjo33, a fellow special needs mom who lives on a little island in Maine. I can always count on Joanna when I need something researched online because she is a google queen. She is also fierce when it comes to getting what her sweet daughter, Tess, needs.
After sharing a "getting ready to call the doctor and not hanging up until I get what I need for my kid" online conversation with Joanna, imagine my surprise when a few days later, I got a sweet package from her in my mailbox. Inside, this pin I'm wearing on my shirt...
that says, "Mama Bear is here", and, for Lily, a little stuffed animal lobster since the island Joanna is from is famous for it's lobster.
Again, all this sweetness from someone I've never met. Yet I consider Joanna a friend and am confident that if I needed help, she would do whatever she could.
And then there's Melaina, whose handsome son Owen is quite similar to my Lily. We share stories of our kiddos and pass along helpful tips and ideas for sensory fun and learning. Actually, Melaina's better at that than me. But also? Melaina just sent me a link to a candy store that features all natural treats geared towards people on special diets - "all the fun without the funny stuff", it says. In my book, a good friend is someone who shares candy with you.
Then there's Karla. And Karen. Allie. Lizbeth. Debbie. I could go on and on and still not remember everyone who has blessed me with their kind and encouraging words.
I might complain about technology and get frustrated when my computer freezes up or my phone runs out of charge or Facebook changes its settings yet again.
But then I remember that technology has brought some pretty special people into my life.
And through social media, Lily Bird is being prayed for by more people than I can possibly imagine.
That is a gift.
The gift of friendship.
And for that, I'm so grateful.