When I told my son that I was getting together with someone I had met online, he commented “that’s a bit sketchy.” And, as a helicopter mom raising her boys in the age of the internet and social media, I have to admit that I was sort of pleased at his response. So how then to explain to my son, who I would certainly caution never to do the same thing, that I already knew all I needed to know about Sharon from her written words. Nothing sketchy about it.
She commented on my blog first. (I know because today I went back and checked.) So, as I always do, I headed over to hers to check her out and to reciprocate. I can’t remember how things evolved from there but we quickly formed a mutual admiration society and became faithful followers, commenters, and blog friends. And there were some behind the scenes email conversations – things that were too private to say in a public blog comment.
Over time and through what we read and wrote, I came to know Sharon. And to feel a connection that I believed would transcend the internet world. She was more than just an anonymous blogger behind a keyboard – the real person shone through. I knew that Sharon was intelligent, honest, observant, spiritual, genuine, creative, insightful, self-reflecting, compassionate and caring, fun and funny, a planner, filled with wanderlust, and someone I could sit and talk with for hours despite never previously having had a “real” conversation.
Yet despite feeling like I’d known her for years, I still was a bit nervous about meeting in real life. Not that we wouldn’t get along. I knew we would. Not that we’d run out of things to say. I knew we wouldn’t. Not that we wouldn’t like each other. We already did:) But there I was in my same old “worrying about what others think about me” mentality. Worried about where we should go to eat since it was my town and we are, after all, “dieters.” Worried about what to wear since the sudden cold spell meant long pants and my jeans were all either too big or too small. Worried about putting on the tiny bit of eye makeup I rarely wear because it’s not the “every day” me who Sharon has come to know but if we took a photo to post on our blogs for all eternity I sure didn’t want to appear to have no eyelashes! Worried about how she’d respond to my asking if I could hug her when we first met. Even already worried, just a bit, about doing justice to our meeting in a blog post! Trust me, I can always find a ton of nothing to worry about. And this was no different.
So, there I was, in my baggy-in-the-bottom-but-still-snug-in-the-waist jeans, wearing mascara and, yes, even earrings, driving in my car to meet her, with a huge grin on my face. I felt it. The grin. And the anticipation. And I knew what I knew. And I could not wait. Shoot – I’m grinning again as I type this!
And there she was with her arms already open. Seems I wasn’t the only one thinking about a hug:)
Okay, still smiling. That’s how great it was. I knew it would be, despite my little “can’t help but sweat the small stuff” nerves. Because, as I never did explain to my son (who took the photo above), I already knew the real Sharon. And she is just as wonderful in person as she is in the blogworld. And after a delicious lunch with her gracious, easy-going husband (mine was ironically on his way to Colorado, where Sharon and Mr. B were next headed), she came home with me and we talked for hours. About blogging. And our lives. And our journeys and challenges. And hiking and biking. And our past careers and our current lack of careers. And family and friends, including some of you! About how we are the same and how we are different. And we talked. And I’m still smiling.
Have you found a connection with someone you only know online? Ever met an internet friend in real life? Do you want to?