Thursday, August 21, 2008
On blog friends
Since starting a blog, I have often thought about why so many of us spend our time doing it. Have you? Because really there are days that I feel guilty that it takes up so much of my time. But then there are days when I am grateful that through blogging, I can share things with my family, or feel connected to my friends, or see how other similarly situated women spend their days.
A few weeks ago I was out and about and something happened that I had sort of imagined might happen some day. I was standing in a crowded place and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone I knew, and had the impulse to chase her down. Except I didn’t know her. She was just a blog friend. I had never met her in real life, or had a real conversation with her. And so I hesitated. I told myself that it might change things---that is might be awkward, but really I was just afraid that she wouldn’t really want to meet me, or that she would think I was kind of nuts. So I let the moment pass, and instantly regretted it. I hoped I would see her again, and this time I wouldn’t be so chicken. But we eventually left without seeing her again, and so that was that.
So I have thought since that day, a lot about this blogging stuff—how we just open our lives up for any old internet reader to do with it what they may. How I am often deeply touched by experiences of people who I have never met in real life, but have so much in common. How I think of them…even have conversations about them with other fellow blog readers. We discuss them as if they were in our little circle of friends. “Did you read so and so’s post today?” “Yeah, I loved it (or thought it was silly or whatever)”. We try to re-create their crafts, or recipes. We commiserate about our trials. We follow their stories. We become kind of invested.
I got mastitis last week. And as I lay in bed at 3 am with chills and a fever, reminded of my mortality, my mind drifted to kind of a morbid place. I starting having thoughts of the, “what if something happened to me,” variety. Like, if I died, would my baby be OK without me? Would she be loved enough and hugged enough? Would someone hold her if she had an ear infection, or put cream on the rashy spot below her chin that never gets air to it? Would she be sad without her mother? Would my husband find her another mother who would be kind and gentle and not spank or criticize her? Would my in-laws and siblings be there to talk about “girl” stuff with her, and tell her that she is beautiful and that she can be anything she wants to be, or make sure that she has the right prom dress or wedding dress? Would she feel lonely and different?
I seriously considered getting out of bed and writing a letter to all the members of my family telling them exactly what I would want them to be responsible for in the event that I was not around to take care of it. I mentally ticked off lists of responsibilities:
“Vanessa- Hugs and kisses. Be there if she needs to just cry about things. Remind her how much I love her”
“Jane- Make her laugh. Teach her that she is beautiful and that women are strong”
“Katie- Show her your example of patience and kindness. Make sure she knows the importance of selflessness.”
I won’t lie, I had a good cry as made my mental lists. I got Avery out of her crib and snuggled her close, took 4 motrin and finally fell asleep.
One of the blogs I read faithfully is called the Nienie dialogs. Nienie is Stephanie Nielson, a wife and mother, and member of the LDS church. She has quite a flare for design, and an ability to capture the ordinary bits of life, and remind us of the wonder in it all. I have never met her in real life, like many blog “friends” I have, but I feel a lot in common with her.
People often comment that a certain blog post, “made me shed a tear”, which to be honest, is usually not the case for me. I have been touched by many things written by friends--both met and unmet, but rarely to the point of tears. But one night about a year ago I came across a post written by Stephanie Nielson that made me weep. She wrote it several years ago…I was just scrolling back through her archives. It was called “Breast Milk for Life”. It was one of the most touching things I have ever read, and I think about it often. I hope you will take a moment to read her original post, but in summary she talks about how after her sister in law died of cancer, she took her 2 month old baby into a quiet room and nursed him along side her own new baby after the funeral. She says, “I knew somewhere Charity (her sister in law) was happy knowing her son was being fed, cuddled close and loved.”
I cried when I read this, because if I died and left behind a baby, that is the exact thing that I would want someone to do. Knowing my family would be there to comfort and snuggle and love my child would give me peace. I think about this story often, and thought about that night I had mastitis, and felt a good deal of peace because of it.
So now I am praying that Stephanie and her husband are feeling that same peace as they lay in their hospital beds suffering from severe burns to most of their bodies. They were in a plane crash this weekend and were severely injured. And though I don’t know them in real life, my heart aches for her because she is injured, and her recovery will take a long time, and because she is separated from her four children and the husband that she seems to love desperately. But as I stay tuned in to the updates that are being blogged by her sister, I can’t help think that she too is smiling in her sedated state, knowing that her babies are being cuddled and loved by her family that is by her side. And I hope that she feels the prayers of all the people who she has never met, but who have found a blog friend in her, and that we are grateful for it.
Updates Here about the Nielson family
ps. I added a donate button on the side bar if you would like to donate to the paypal account set up by her family.